Recently, Childers Police received a report regarding a local resident being scammed via social media.
The scammer created a fake Facebook profile posing as the victim’s friend, using their name and real Facebook profile picture.
Using Facebook Messenger and posing as the friend, the scammer made contact with the victim before telling them about a fake Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) program where members of the public are eligible for financial grants. In order to access the financial grant, the victim was ordered to pay a “service fee” in the form of Google Play cards.
Initially the service fee was $400, however the scammer continued to request further money before releasing the grant. Unfortunately, the victim paid over $5,000 before discovering the scam.
The Financial and Cyber Crime Group are reminding Queenslanders to be aware of scammers and be sure to stay alert to scams, particularly gift card scams.
If someone asks you to pay with a gift card, there’s a high probability it’s a scam.
Government organisations or trustworthy businesses will never ask for payment with Google Play, iTunes or other gift cards. If you pay a scammer with a gift card it may not be possible to get your money back.
Be very sceptical of organisations offering unsolicited free gift cards or coupons online, including on social media.
There are numerous versions of fake gift card promotions, all of which involve scammers trying to steal personal or financial details.
As with all online scams, a good rule of thumb is to never click on or respond to an unsolicited message that feels too good to be true.
For information on fake websites, phishing scams, parcel delivery scams, fake seller/buyer scams and puppy scams, visit the cybercrime page on our website.
If you have information for police, contact Policelink by providing information using the online suspicious activity form 24hrs per day at www.police.qld.gov.au/reporting.
Report crime information anonymously via Crime Stoppers. Call 1800 333 000 or report online at www.crimestoppersqld.com.au.