Police impersonator scam prompts warning to Barossa Valley residents

A recent incident in which a would-be scammer claimed to work for the SA Police has prompted a fresh warning to the Barossa Valley community to not be taken in by such tactics.

The caller claimed to be a police officer and told their intended victim that they needed to pay a debt using gift cards.

Of concern was the fact the telephone number displayed was that of a South Australian police station, however the call was not being made from that location.

Unfortunately modifying the caller ID is a simple technique which can be used by scammers as a way to build credibility by making a call or SMS appear to come from a reputable agency.

SA Police do not make calls on behalf of the tax department, or in relation to debt recovery or ask for payments in gift cards.

While only one report has been received in relation to the exploitation of this particular phone number, police are aware this type of practice is used by many would-be scammers to create a false impression about where a call is being made from.

Irrespective of the phone number displayed, or who an unsolicited caller claims to work for, it is important to take independent steps to verify a caller's identity before providing any personal information or making payments of any sort.

Scammers often contact people by phone or on the internet - making it important to remember these tips to protect yourself:

  • Hang up when someone you don't know calls
  • Immediately delete emails from people you don't know, and from agencies or businesses that you didn't agree to receive emails from - do not click on links in those emails
  • Never send money online to someone you haven't met in person
  • If in doubt contact the government agency from a phone number or website that you have located and were not directed to
  • Remember the ATO will not request payment of a debt via iTunes, Google Play cards or Bitcoins
  • Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source
  • If you think you have provided your bank account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately
  • Never give an unsolicited person remote access to your computer. You may compromise the security of your device and your personal information
  • Ensure your computer is protected with regularly updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software

Please share this information - and discuss the prevalence of these type of scams with people in your circle who may be less savvy about this type of technology or scam activity.

To report a scam or for further information visit www.scamwatch.gov.au