Attorney-General’s identity used in beneficiary scam and fake website
- Reports of Mr John Quigley’s stolen image used in attempted scam
- Emails feature link to fake website using Mr Quigley’s name and image
- Recipients warned about beneficiary scams and advised to ignore emails
Scammers have stolen the identity of WA’s Attorney-General John Quigley as part of a beneficiary scam and to set up a fake website.
Two reports have been received from people who have received emails purporting to be from Mr Quigley as the lawyer for a deceased person who has left $US4.3 million in a bank account and no will. The email is phishing for personal information from the recipient.
Also included is a link to a fake website “JR’Quigley LEGAL” which features Mr Quigley’s name and image and the address of ministerial offices at Dumas House in West Perth. WA ScamNet has acted quickly to have the site shut down.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said it is common for scammers to steal the identity of prominent people and celebrities to fool their targets into believing that their fake proposal is legitimate.
"In this instance WA ScamNet has identified that the website is a copy of a NSW based law firm with only a few amendments made to the real website," Ms Chopping said.
“Beneficiary scams are fairly common and the scammer normally masquerades as a lawyer, so in this case they want to add some authenticity to the con by stealing the identity of a prominent lawyer, in this case WA’s attorney-general.
“If people respond, what usually follows are requests for your personal information, such as copies of passport and drivers licence, and continual requests for payment for legal fees or taxes in order to be able to access the funds.
“Scammers will go to great lengths to convince their victims that a fortune awaits if instructions are followed. They may even send a large number of seemingly legitimate legal documents to sign, such as power of attorney documents.
“A second or even third scammer may be introduced – posing as a banker, lawyer or tax agent – to 'help facilitate the legal and financial aspects of the transaction'.
“Even if payments are made, the recipient won’t receive the sum of 'inheritance' money promised, and they won't get their money back. They may also leave themselves open to identity theft.
“So our advice is to ignore these approaches and, if in doubt, contact WA ScamNet at Consumer Protection for advice.”
Some tips to protection against beneficiary scams:
- Never respond to unsolicited emails claiming to be able to obtain you money through some sort of inheritance or beneficiary scam.
- Never send money or give credit card, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
- Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
- Seek advice from an independent professional such as a lawyer, accountant or financial planner if in doubt.
- Do an internet search using the names, contact details or exact wording of the letter/email to check for any references to a scam – many scams can be identified this way.
- If you think it’s a scam, don't respond — scammers will use a personal touch to play on your emotions to get what they want.
- Remember there are no get-rich-quick schemes: if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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