Archives for : PHONE & TEXT SCAMS

Centrelink Scam phone caller Australia. Incident in Toowoomba Qld

I RECEIVED a recorded message on my answering yesterday from a person claiming to be with Centrelink informing me that I was going to receive a raise in my pension.

The person stated that since I had not replied to the supposed letter I never received, all my paper work was sent to the Canberra head office. I was supplied with an account number and an 02 phone number.

I decided to ring the number direct to find out what it was about. A man answered who spoke with an Indian accent. I asked him if he worked for Centrelink to which he replied he did.


I told him I thought it was a scam because I could distinctly hear people laughing in the background as we spoke. He replied that they were having a few drinks and would I like to join them. I immediately again told him it was a scam to which he used some colourful language and promptly hung up.

So watch it if you receive any of these phone calls.

PS. I tried to call Centrelink to report this scam but after 25 minutes of trying I gave up.


Henry Sapiecha

Be aware of scammers claiming you have to pay a police infringement notice

An email has been received saying you have been issued an infringement notice.



The email would say you are required to pay $180.78 and if you did not act within 28 days you may be prosecuted in a Magistrates Court.

In this case one Kaylene Ridgely said she immediately recognised the email as illegitimate and contacted SPER.

“I wondered who the people were and how they had my email address,” she said.

“It worries me because I’m sure there a lot of older people who don’t recognise it’s a scam and give out their details.


Henry Sapiecha

Suspected money laundering scheme via phone

A WOMAN in her 70s has fallen victim to a suspected money laundering scheme.

Acting Sergeant John Donaldson [Police] said the woman reported the incident with concerns.

He said the suspected scheme involved a person calling the unsuspecting person and claiming to be an internet security company representative.


Acting Sgt Donaldson said the fraudsters request remote access to their victim’s computer.

The scammer then asks for bank details in order to transfer up to $10,000 into the person’s account.

Next the victim is asked to bring their account up on their computer screen so the scammer can check the money has gone into the account.

Police said $10,000 was transferred into the woman’s account.


Due to the large amount, the woman told the scammer she was unable to complete the request.

The woman told police the “company” transferred a smaller amount into her account to assist with the withdrawal.

After depositing the money into the new bank account details supplied to her, the woman was asked to take photos of the deposit slip and receipts as proof.

“It sounded like the person she spoke to was a very slick operator,” Sgt Donaldson said.

“We just want to make people aware because this may not be just in Hervey Bay but nationwide.”

Anyone who feels they have been scammed or believes they have been groomed can report the matter to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) at


Henry Sapiecha

Losses from reported Australian hacking victims quadrupled in 2016: ACCC


The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has reported a four-fold increase in hacking scams, with AU$2.9 million lost to such activity in 2016, up from AU$700,000 in 2015.

According to Targeting scams: Report of the ACCC on scams activity 2016, businesses bore the brunt of these scams, with over half — AU$1.7 million — being attributed to businesses.

“While the digital economy presents many opportunities and efficiencies for businesses, it also presents significant risks,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard says in the report’s foreword.

“Scams targeting businesses are becoming increasingly sophisticated using modern technology to make fake emails, invoices and websites appear legitimate to even the astute business person.”

While the digital age is hitting businesses in Australia, the report [PDF] highlights that consumers are also being affected by scammers, with digitisation providing the opportunity for scammers to try new tricks.

Online scams — those executed via the internet, email, social networks, and mobile apps — outnumbered phone-based scams in 2016, with an increase of 130 percent over 2015.

Elsewhere in the report, losses to online scams accounted for 58 percent — AU$48.4 million — of total losses, while social media was a particularly busy platform used by scammers to lure victims, netting losses of AU$9.5 million in 2016 compared with AU$3.8 million in 2015.

Of the social media scams, the most prevalent were related to online dating and sextortion, a form of blackmail in which compromising images of the victim are used to extort money.

Residents warned as scammers rip off $60k in telephone scam

Police are warning people to be aware of a sophisticated telephone scam.


QUEENSLAND AUSTRALIA SUNSHINE Coast residents have been warned about a sophisticated scam which has been resurrected to great effect, ripping victims off to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

Police are warning people to be wary of the scam, which involves a call to a home phone from a telecommunications provider.

The demanding caller tells the residents their computer has been hacked and insists they press specific keys on the keyboard (windows key and the letter ‘r’).

A second person then comes on the line and tells the resident they need money to catch the scammer and asks for a credit card number and PIN, before ringing on the mobile phone and asks to stay on the line.

The victim is then told to withdraw money from the bank and then asked to attend certain retail shops and buy gift cards.

Still on the line, the scammer tells the victim to display the PIN and gift card details to the computer camera, which has been taken over by scammers.

This goes on for several days and can include a number of requests for purchases to be made, including plane tickets.

Acting Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence of the Financial and Cyber Crimes Group said one victim had lost $20,000 through the scam.

“The actions of these criminals targeting the vulnerable members of our community is deplorable, they don’t care who they hurt, they just want your money,” he said.

“This scam is very specific however I urgently warn all members to be vigilant when it comes to unsolicited calls and a request or demand to make payment by gift cards of any type.

“Businesses and government organisations will not seek payment in this way, nor will they request remote access to your computer. The callers are criminals who are stealing your money. Please, I urge you to not comply and hang up immediately. Report the call to Scamwatch or ACORN.”

Coast IT guru and owner of ID Care, Dr David Lacey, said they’d seen a spike in both telephone and remote-access scams in the past few months.

He said his company was doing about 200 engagements a week with victims of cyber crime and about one-third were calls from victims of telephone scams.

Dr Lacey said scammers were often using telephone calls to gain remote access to computers, then installing ransomware to further extort their victims.

“It’s certainly ratcheting up,” Dr Lacey said.

He estimated about a million calls a month were being made to victims in Australia.

Victims that had contacted him were suffering significant financial losses, with one victim even having up to $60,000 withdrawn from their superannuation account by scammers.

He said victims often blamed themselves, but added it had nothing to do with intelligence, as the scammers were highly manipulative.

“It’s not just about the technology, it’s mostly about the emotional and confidence (damage caused by scammers),” Dr Lacey said.

Victims can report scams to or



Henry Sapiecha

The “can you hear me?” phone scam


Like every one else – I read the news.  The “can you hear me?” phone scam has reportedly been prolific in the United States and the United Kingdom since very early in 2017.

Weeks ago I was interested to read that the phone scam had hit Australia’s shores.

I just had lunch with one of the Mackay police station’s Volunteer in Policing who received a “Can you hear me?” phone call at their home number on Monday April 24!!

What do you need to know? Victims receive an unsolicited phone call (business or home number) … after you answer, the scammer will simply say “Can you hear me?” several times.  Most people say “yes”.

The scammer then ends the call. It is believed that the scammer is recording your “yes” response and that this recording is being used to authorise payments or charges – in your name!!! Good luck disputing or contesting the payment or charge after the event with a recording of your “yes” on file authorising it ?

If the scammer already has your mobile phone number and some sensitive identification information of yours… you may have some serious and legitimate reasons to be concerned!

We’re now sharing this post statewide as we believe it to be hitting many areas.

Our advice to combat this phone scam :

  • Spread the word – Share this information
  • If you receive a “can you hear me?” phone call – hang up – don’t respond!
  • If you did respond with a “yes” … alert your financial institution, begin to monitor your accounts closely .. and contact ID CARE


Henry Sapiecha

Expert tip: The real tax office never asks you to pay with iTunes gift cards


You know you’re being scammed when an aggressive caller, supposedly from the ATO, demands you settle a tax debt using pre-paid iTunes or Visa cards.

There was a time when scammers tried to con you with promises which seem too good to be true, such as inheriting money from a long-lost uncle. These days they try to trick you with scams which seem too boring to be fake or too scary to ignore.

Watch out for telephone scammers demanding you pay your tax bill using gift cards image

Watch out for telephone scammers demanding you pay your tax bill using gift cards.  

Threatening phone calls from the taxman are enough to grab most people’s attention, but as soon as the caller gets aggressive and starts demanding payment on the spot you know something is wrong. Especially if they expect you to pay using pre-paid gift cards.

I would have thought asking for iTunes cards would be a huge red flag for anyone who received a call claiming to be from the tax office, but apparently some Australians fall for this – spending thousands of dollars on gift cards and then sending the scammers the redemption codes. More than 300 people have reported lost more than $1 million in total to tax scams in the first half of this year, including $174,830 spent on iTunes cards.

It’s easy to laugh at these people but scammers are practiced at the art of manipulating confused and frightened  people. Sometimes the caller seems to know a lot about you, which helps them sound more genuine. They can also be very intimidating and aggressive, such as insisting that if you don’t pay you’ll go to jail and the police are already on their way to your house. You can see how this might frighten elderly people, especially if English isn’t their first language.

Even if you’d never fall for these scams, it’s important to word up your less tech-savvy friends and relatives who might not view such calls with a healthy skepticism. The golden rule is “trust no-one” when you answer the phone, especially when the caller starts asking you to prove who you are or demanding payment.


Henry Sapiecha

Zhenya Tsvetnenko [A Perth millionaire] to fight text message scam & fraud charges

Australian millionaire Zhenya Tsvetnenko is planning to fight charges he defrauded unsuspecting mobile phone users for unwanted text messages as part of a multi-million-dollar scheme in the United States.

An indictment filed in federal court in Manhattan on Friday charged Mr Tsvetnenko, Fraser Thompson, an ex-executive at mobile aggregation company Mobile Messenger, as well as Fancis Assifuah, who authorities say ran digital content providers.

Perth digital entrepreneur Zhenya Tsvetnenko image

Perth digital entrepreneur Zhenya Tsvetnenko. Photo: Aaron Bunch Photographer

The indictments relate to a period from 2011 to 2013.

The trio were added to a pre-existing case against five other people and accused of participating in an “auto-subscribing” scheme to charge mobile phone customers monthly fees for unsolicited, recurring text messages without their consent.

Thompson was arrested on Friday in California. Mr Tsvetnenko lives in Perth and has not been arrested, while Assifuah had already been arrested in April. The trio face charges including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Mr Tsvetnenko co-owns Voyeur night club which opened its doors in July at the refurbished Llama Bar site in Subiaco.


Henry Sapiecha