Durva Bhatt, an Indian international student studying engineering at Macquarie University, lost A$3,740 in a ‘fake police officer’ scam.

Durva – who comes from the Indian state of Gujarat – was out jogging when she received a call from a scammer who claimed to be an Australian Federal Police (AFP) officer. The number on her phone – 0292864000 – matched a number listed online for the AFP.

Macquarie University

The caller told me there are multiple frauds in my name and they are going to arrest me. I panicked as they as they were aware of all my details and even knew I was wearing track pants and having a coffee after my morning jog.

Durva felt isolated. Her friends and family are overseas, so she could not seek advice on what to do.

Durva followed the instructions the scammers gave her to withdraw her savings from an ATM, and make a deposit in another bank. She later realised that she had been scammed and reported the crime at the Kings Cross Police Station in Sydney.

AFP Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling said:

The AFP and the Australian government will never seek payment for fines or other matters over the phone. We will not ask for money transfers, Bitcoins or online vouchers such as iTunes and GooglePlay.

She added that the scam calls have been ‘spoofed’ so that the numbers appear to have been made from a legitimate AFP number.

AFP Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling said calls appeared to have been made from a legitimate AFP number in some cases.

The scammers have managed to mimic the number to disguise their identity, but police suspect the calls originate from overseas.

If you want to check if a call is legitimate, disconnect the call and find the agency’s listed contact number on a website or by calling directory assistance.

Manually enter that number, never press redial. Then explain the nature of the call you received, and you will have confirmation that the AFP or government department was not behind the call.

The scam that caught Durva is very similar to a scam in Sydney where an international student lost over A$38,000.

Don’t get scammed!

As an international student, the best way to protect yourself from scams is to ensure you understand the risks and warning signs.

Stay safe – by taking the free online course on ‘Scams Targeting International Students‘ today.

It could save you a lot of money and stress.

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Educational Institutions, Education Agents and Student Accommodation Providers…

…make our online safety courses available to your international students. Contact us.

Source: SBS Hindi