Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards is warning people to be wary of online scams. Picture: iStock/FILE
Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards is warning people to be wary of online scams. Picture: iStock/FILE

SCAM ALERT: ‘Stupid’ behaviour sparks police warning

WITH online shopping sales skyrocketing and people spending more time at home than ever, Sunshine Coast residents are being warned to not get caught out in online scams.

Detective Senior Sergeant and officer-in-charge at the Sunshine Coast Criminal Investigation Branch, Daren Edwards, said he was sick of the amount of "naive" and "stupid" people on the Coast.

"These people are enabling organised crime causing wasted use of resources and causing substantial losses to companies," he said.

"If you send $1 to a person where you cannot establish them being a person in real life … you are starting a path to disaster with serious repercussions.

"It is also important that any business which receives advice via email or other interaction of a changed bank account by a company they are dealing with that they use some due diligence to check and confirm those changes are legitimate."

Sen-Sgt Edwards said residents weren't taking enough care when it came to buying products online, sending money and never receiving the product in return.

"Another issue is people are involved in payments for various items, cars, deposits for house … and the mails are being hacked and changed bank account details," he said.

"These can be confirmed often by a simple phone call to the company to check the numbers."

A common scam involved elderly residents getting involved in investments which were generally too good to be true like promises of 18-20 per cent returns, Sen-Sgt Edwards said.

"Retirees are responding to cold calls from investment companies, or have been becoming trusting of investment mechanisms/firms they are involved with," he said.

Sen-Sgt Edwards said people being duped by love scams had increased during recent months.

It comes after an ongoing investigation from July last year when a 60-year-old Nambour woman lost more than $100,000 after being conned by a "love interest" she met on a dating site.

Despite never having met him, the scammer, believed to be from South Africa, convinced her to send him her superannuation, sell her cars and personal possessions and open bank accounts.

"He intercepted the subject email and in excess of $6 million was transferred to the woman's account," Sen-Sgt Edwards said.

"The offender told her that he was entitled to five per cent as his business dealings and that she should buy two cars and remove money up to $330,000.

"As a result, she purchased a LandCruiser for $134,000. The woman subsequently relinquished ownership of the vehicle which was seized by police and towed to a police holding yard.

"Fortunately between the Queensland and foreign banks they were able to stop and recover $5.7 million."

At this stage the woman has been served with a fraud warning letter with investigations to be made.

Police are working with a Queensland law firm representing the Korean company and the banks to continue with the investigation and identify the path of the missing remaining amount of over $300,000.