Source: South Australia Police
Everyone wants to reduce their bills, but police warn of an emerging scam turning stolen credit card details into cash for scammers.
Scammers target their victims via social media or referral from previous victims. They advise their target that they offer a service to pay off outstanding bills at a discount. Unsuspecting victims test the service by providing one of their utility or other bills to the scammers.
The scammers use stolen credit card details to pay the bill in full. The target does not know at this time that the credit card used was stolen; they can see that the amount owed has been paid and they can verify this with the issuer of the bill, independently of the scammers; they are confident at this stage that the service is legitimate.
The scammers then have the target pay the value of the ‘discounted’ bill as a cash deposit via ATM or bank counter, to a bank account controlled by the scammers.
The target happily pays the discounted amount (for example 80% of original bill value) via cash to the nominated account. With confidence, they then find additional bills and take maximum advantage of this ‘service’ – having the scammers pay the full bill amounts and depositing the discounted cash payment to the bank account. They may also refer the service to their family and friends with glowing recommendation.
Here’s the catch; sometime later, the credit card company executes a chargeback to the utility company, reversing payment of bill settled using the stolen credit card. At this time, the bill is reissued to the victim and they now realise they have been scammed. They have lost the cash deposited to, and long withdrawn from, the scammer’s bank account while still owing the full amount for the bill.
South Australia Police remind the community to be suspicious if an offer seems too good to be true. Do your due diligence and research the offer independent of the promoters, and avoid giving out your personal information over the phone or internet when you cannot determine the legitimacy of the contact.
If you have been the victim of this type of scam, you can report it at your local police station and online at www.cyber.gov.au