So-called ‘claim farming’ has been ramping up across Queensland for the past year as scammers chase identity details – but this time they unwittingly called a major news organisation.
ABC News reporter Aneeta Bhole says her and her colleagues were “bombarded” with calls from an unidentified number through which someone was offering compensation for a person involved in a crash.
Bhole managed to record the sixth call she received – in which the scammer claimed to have got hold of her details from the Insurance Commission.
According to the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ), the scam is known as ‘claim farming’ and is on the rise.
RACQ spokesperson Kirsty Clinton told ABC News that the trend is being facilitated by criminal organisations who “want to collect personal information and sell it on to lawyers.”
“They’re then going to take advantage of you and they stand to make huge amounts of money from these insurance claims,” Clinton said in the report.
Clinton said that the organisation’s members are sometimes receiving multiple calls per day – and one member had received more than a dozen calls during one week.
“We’ve had members telling us that ‘it’s RACQ calling them’ … we’re saying, ‘no it is not’,” she explained.
Clinton urged anyone receiving these calls to contact their insurance company or seek their own legal representation.
Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence of Queensland Police Service’s Financial and Cyber Crime Group told ABC News that the scam was not new.
“It’s an old scam that goes away for a little while and then resurfaces,” he said. “It’s a popular scam because it’s worked for the scammers.”
Lawrence said scammers were out to harvest information including dates of birth, addresses, telephone numbers, full names and bank account details.
“Obviously once you’ve got those details you can pretend to be that person online and start using it to get credit cards and taking money from banks and other people,” he said.