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Covering The Banana Shire
Central West Queensland

Government & Schools

5 March, 2021

Cybercime: a worrying trend across district

THE UNFORTUNATE truth over the past few months is that Biloela has seen an increase in victims of cybercrime.

By Michael R Williams

Biloela Police Department urges citizens to be wary of cybercriminals PHOTO: Michael R Williams.

THE UNFORTUNATE truth over the past few months, is that Biloela has seen an increase in victims of cybercrime. 

Acting Senior Sergeant Colin Mclean is concerned that members of the community may be ill-educated in handling criminals that deal online or over the phone. 

“There’s a variety of them,” he says.  

“A lot of them are initiating contact by phone.  

“They are cold calling where they try to get important details for various reasons.” 

In one, they say the victim has a warrant out for their arrest for not paying their tax.  

The caller then urges the listener to give over their bank details else risk being arrested. 

“Local police will never call and ask you to pay for a fine online or over the phone,” The myPolice website assures. 

Snr Sgt Mclean says the most concerning scam over the past five months has been “from Facebook".  

“They’ve looked at a car online.  

“They’ve then given their license over and then there has been an account set up.  

“They’ve then attempted to purchase this car from interstate.  

“One [story] was where just under $10,000 was put across in savings.” 

The money was never seen again.  

Purchases online can often seem “too good to be true.” 

Snr Sgt Mclean urges anyone who has found a purchase online that in any way seems unusual to approach it with scrutiny.  

“Make sure the car is roadworthy and safe,” he said. 

“If you can’t see the car yourself then get someone you trust to check it out anyway.” 

Online purchases can be a different world than in the general community where you can trust individuals.  

“They [victims of cybercrime] can sometimes apply the same standard [from their everyday community] to other people online, and it ends up being that these criminals are taking advantage of them and the money is going to Eastern Europe or wherever,” Snr Sgt Mclean said. 

 “A lot of transactions are done every day satisfactorily through Facebook and online every day.” 

The difficulty the police station faces is in apprehending the offenders of cybercrime. 

“When the offender is overseas, Australian police have no jurisdiction,” Snr Sgt Mclean said. 

“So, the offence is committed. Even though the impact is here, the offence is overseas.” 

There is a cybercrime team that victims can reach out to for national offences, if they occur.  

According to the Snr Sgt Mclean, the majority of cases are from offenders overseas.  

The Australian Police are instead turning their attention to crime prevention.  

This includes educating the public to be wary of these crimes.  

myPolice gives the following tips on how to protect yourself: 

 1. If you receive a phone call or email out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions or Australian Taxation Office telling you about an arrest warrant, hang up. 

 2. If you have any doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a government department, contact the body directly. Don’t rely on numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. 

 3. The CDPP is advising people to be vigilant when receiving phone calls of this nature and if in doubt about the authenticity of a call that you receive from the CDPP, contact them on one of the publicly listed phone numbers or email 

 4. Never send any money via wire transfer to anyone you do not know or trust. 

 5. 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 account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately. 

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