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Police target rise in scams

Police have issued a warning about a rise in deception-based offences across the Wimmera and Mallee.

Officials have reported that officers operating in Horsham, West Wimmera, Yarriambiack and Northern Grampians municipalities have seen a significant increase in the frequency of the offences since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Detective Senior Constable Jackson Seres from Northern Grampians Crime Investigation Unit said the belief was that criminals were finding ways to take advantage of more people staying at home.

He said police had specifically noticed a rise involving financial scams and obtaining property by deception.



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Examples of these offences included:

• People being contacted by phone or Facebook messenger where they were requested to deposit money into a bank account.

• People claiming to be from legitimate government agencies or not-for-profit organisations who contact victims and convince them they are entitled to certain grants. Victims are then told to exchange personal information and bank-account details to process the requests.

• Online trading – buying cars and other items – where sellers do not have the property to sell but manage to take money from the buyer.

Det Sen Const Seres stressed that under no circumstances should people give out their personal information.

“It would be extremely unusual for legitimate random requests of this nature to be made,” he said.

“If you’re unsure about the validity of these interactions, you should contact police for advice. 

“Never provide your bank-account details.

“With more people staying at home due to public health restrictions, it is more important than ever to be conscious of random and uninvited requests of this nature.

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

Det Sen Const Seres urged anyone with any information about these activities to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report to www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

The entire September 16, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!