Threat of Arrest Scams
These scams use threats designed to frighten you into handing over your money, and can even include threats to your life.
The scammer may call you and pressure you into paying immediately, threaten you with arrest, or say they will send the police to your house if you refuse. Scammers will also send emails claiming you owe money for things like a speeding fine, tax office debt or unpaid bill.
Scammers have been known to target vulnerable people, such as the elderly and newly arrived migrants. They will often impersonate government officials from agencies such as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Department of Human Services or IRS.
• You receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from a government department, debt collection agency or trusted company.
• You may be left a message on your answering machine asking you to ring a number.
• The caller will tell you that in order to resolve the matter you will need to pay a fee or fine.
• The caller may ask for your personal information such as your passport details, date of birth or bank information.
• The caller may claim the police will come to your door and arrest you if you do not pay the fee or fine immediately.
• Don’t be pressured by a threatening caller. Stop, think and check whether their story is true.
• A government agency or trusted company will never ask you to pay by unusual methods such as by gift or store cards, iTunes vouchers, wire transfers or Bitcoins.
• If you receive a phone call from someone threatening you and asking you to pay a fee, hang up and do not respond.
• Don’t use any contact details provided by the caller. Verify their identity by calling the relevant organization directly—find them through an independent source such as a phone book, past bill or online search.
• Do not respond to texts or emails. If you do, the scammers will escalate their intimidation and attempts to get your money.
• Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust and never by email or over the phone.
• If you are concerned for your safety, contact the police.
If you have elderly friends and family please discuss this issue with them and make them aware of the situation, and give them information on what to do.