Got mail from the Police Commissioner?

The scam letter purporting to be from the SA Police Commissioner.

The scam letter purporting to be from the SA Police Commissioner.

SA Police is warning the community about a current scam in the form of a letter claiming to be from Police Commissioner Grant Stevens.

The scam letter appears on SA Police letterhead, apparently signed by the Commissioner, promising the recipient a large sum of money in exchange for sending an ‘approval fee’.

The key to recognising this scam is that SA Police does not send letters demanding approval fees, or promise significant sums of money to be paid into offshore accounts.

Additionally, the poor quality, misspelt letter should alert recipients to the fact it is a scam.

The style of this scam is similar to previously detected Nigerian scams, that generally involve offering the victim a share in a large sum of money on the condition the victim helps transfer money overseas.

Anyone who receives a letter like this is urged not to respond and to contact police immediately on 131 444.

To reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a scam, please consider the following tips:

  • Always know who you are communicating with and where your information is going. If you are uncertain, confirm the contact is legitimate through methods other than what they have provided.
  • Be alert to  poor quality letters or emails, with spelling mistakes and other errors.
  • Never give your personal details, passwords, credit card or online account details to a person you cannot identify in an official capacity.
  • Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
  • Ignore emails and text messages which advise you have won a competition that you did not enter.
  • Do not send money to receive lottery winnings or to claim a prize.
  • If you think it’s a scam, don't respond — scammers will use a personal touch to play on your emotions to get what they want.
  • Remember there are no get-rich-quick schemes: if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

You can report scams to ScamWatch or access a range of information to help recognise or avoid scams.

Please spread the word of this type of scam to help protect those who may be more vulnerable.