“You have committed a crime” scams

This scam works like this.

Step 1

You are contacted by:

  1. Someone who says they are an official – (for example from your embassy, or from the police in the country where you are studying). They say that there is evidence that you are involved in a crime, OR
  2. A postal or courier service who says that a package for you has been seized and the matter must be reported to police. The caller offers to connect you with the ‘police’.

Step 2

A fake police officer comes on to the call and says that your name is connected to the investigation of a serious criminal offence – for example money laundering.

They may tell you to keep the information secret so that you do not get in to more trouble.

Step 3

The fake police officer tells you to:

  • transfer any money you have in your account to another account that they nominate so that the investigation can continue. The scammer says that the money will be returned within a short time, or
  • to transfer ‘bail money’ to an account to avoid being deported to face trial in your home country.

Step 4

If you transfer the money, the scammers will withdraw it from their account immediately, and possibly also close the account. Your money can’t be recovered.