Online scammers are trolling religious chat rooms, seeking out their latest victims and committing crimes.
Online scammers are trolling religious chat rooms, seeking out their latest victims and committing crimes. DERRICK DEN HOLLANDER

Religious groups become new target of scammers

ONLINE scammers are trolling religious chat rooms, seeking out their latest victims and committing crimes.

Unsuspecting internet users are falling for the act and are being used as mules, prompting the state's top fraud and corporate crime department to caution people against being exploited.

State Crime Operations Command's Fraud and Corporate Crime Group has seen a significant rise in the number of unsuspecting people facilitating crimes to which they were unaware.

Detective Superintendent Brian Hay said a large number of people were falling for the scam.

"We see a large amount of people who become friends with a person overseas and are convinced to allow their homes to be the delivery point for goods purchased by the overseas entities who tell them it is cheaper to purchase the goods in Australia," he said.

They are, in effect, acting as a mule when the unaware person is then asked to on-send the delivered goods overseas.

"What the mule doesn't know is that the goods are being purchased on compromised or stolen credit cards," he said.

"The business selling the goods loses out and the mule is quite often out of pocket for the shipping costs.

"They are also enabling a crime to occur and receiving property as party to a crime and may well find themselves answering questions from us."

He said people should never share financial transactions with people never met in person.


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