The NT Police Cyber Crime Unit is urging people to be vigilant following a scam that is currently targeting Territorians.
Over the past few days police have received reports where victims receive a phone call or recorded voice message telling the victim they owe a significant amount of money.
The callers and messages advise the victim they need to pay a significant amount of money in a short time frame to avoid arrest, claiming the debt is due to outstanding tax payments or a fine.
“The fake debts are between $5,000 and $10,000,” Detective Sergeant Craig Windebank said.
“The victims say the callers are very aggressive and demand the person they’re calling stay on the phone until payment has been organised.”
Detective Sergeant Windebank said authorities are particularly concerned by the scam as the offenders are using a technique that allows them to fake the number that appears on the victim’s caller identification.
“These fraudsters are using this fake caller ID technique to convince victims that the call is genuine as part of a scam known as ‘phone spoofing’.”
A number of legitimate Northern Territory phone numbers have been used as part of the scam.
“To date, we’ve had reports of offenders spoofing the Northern Territory Government switchboard, the Casuarina Police Station phone number and even the phone number for the victim’s own accountant.
“In some instances, they’ve used the victim’s own mobile phone number,” Det. Sgt Windebank said.
Investigators are advising people take steps to protect themselves from this type of fraud by hanging up after receiving unexpected calls demanding money. Potential victims should use a known telephone number to call companies and confirm whether the call was genuine.
“Another tip is to never, ever use gift cards or iTunes cards to pay bills or outstanding debts,” Det. Sgt Windebank said.
If you have suffered a financial loss through this type of fraud or other scams, you can report it to police on 131 444 or go to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) https://www.acorn.gov.au/.
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