Online scammers have used the identity of the WA Attorney-General to set up a fake website luring people to a multi-million dollar beneficiary hoax.
- John Quigley’s name and photo has been used in a scam website
- The site was phishing for personal information using a beneficiary hoax
- Consumer Protection has successfully shut the site down
Consumer Protection said there had been reports from two people who received emails purporting to be from AG John Quigley as the lawyer for a deceased person.
It was claimed the person had left $4.3 million in a bank account and had no will.
The email was phishing for personal information.
There was a link to a fake website with the name ‘JR’Quigley LEGAL’ which featured Mr Quigley’s name and image, and the address of ministerial offices at Dumas House in West Perth.
WA ScamNet had successfully contacted the domain host to get the fraudulent John Quigley site taken down.
The site was a copy of a NSW law firm with some amendments made.
Consumer Protection has warned that nobody should respond to unsolicited emails claiming to be able to help obtain money via an inheritance.
If it sounds too good to be true — it probably is.
Consumer Protection Commissioner Lanie Chopping said what usually followed were requests for personal information, including copies of passports and drivers licences, along with continual requests for payment for legal fees or taxes.
The Commissioner said nobody should send money or give credit card details or online account details to anyone they don’t know.
Avoid arrangements that ask for upfront payments via money order, wire transfer, or electronic currency like Bitcoin as it was rare to be able to recover funds sent in that way.
Ms Chopping said scammers go to great lengths to convince their victims that a fortune awaits them if instructions are followed, and may send seemingly legitimate legal documents to sign.
A second or third scammer may be introduced; such as someone posing as a banker, lawyer or tax agent.
Ms Chopping said it was intended that the site look sophisticated.
“Essentially the scammers have stolen Mr Quigley’s identity, a photo of him,” she said.
“As far as we’re aware, we’ve got this very early and no-one has come forward so far to report any losses associated with this scam.
“We have however had a number of people come forward directly to the Attorney General’s office and to us in relation to this scam, having been approached.
“Because of the dedication of the staff associated here they’ve been able to have the website removed in record time.”
The Commissioner said that this week, in particular, with parts of WA in a lockdown situation, and the intensity associated with the bushfires, people were vulnerable to falling victim to scams.