Nigerian prize scam uses Australian Crime Commission CEO

Australian law enforcement badges become a popular online scam tool.

Fraudsters are using the name of Australian Crime Commission CEO John Lawler in an attempt to swindle $900 from potential victims.

An email employing the ACC’s logo, purportedly from Lawler, promises recipients a dubious $5 million prize if they pay $900 to a Nigerian bank account, the ACC warned on Thursday.

The ACC said it “will never request funds from individuals in this way”.

Australian law enforcement organisations have become popular amongst fraudsters in recent months, with several agencies’ logos being used in generic fraud campaigns that target Australians.

The ACC’s logo was used in an online dating scam earlier in the month. A fake identity on a dating site would ask the victim to pay $200 to an account in order to gain a certificate that would prove the ACC had run a criminal background check on the person. Other agencies used in that scam included the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

The ACC said it does not provide criminal background checks to members of the public and pointed out that this function is provided to other agencies by CrimTrac.

Across the world, law enforcement logos have been ripped off in so-called “police ransom” schemes that attempt to trick malware victims into paying around a $100 fine to have their PCs released from quarantine.

Victims are told their PCs have been locked because the relevant local law enforcement agency had detected criminal activity on that device.

The scheme arrived in Australia last month with a message purportedly from the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

The AFP issued a statement in late October stating that it does not solicit funds.

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