The Queensland police have charged two people with allegedly conducting a Nigerian scam operation as well as a further four people for using credit cards with skimmed data.
The first couple, who allegedly started out as victims of fraud operations when they sent money to Nigerian scammers in 2003, allegedly turned the tables to become the fraudsters themselves, inviting others to take part in the scheme.
According to the Queensland police, $4.3 million dollars were believed to have been sent to overseas fraudsters concerned. The police did not specify how much if any money had made its way into the pockets of the couple.
The public continued to make the same mistakes, Police Minister Judy Spence said in a statement. "These scams are not new and police have undertaken extensive campaigns to warn the public about not becoming victims of these 'get rich quick schemes'," she said.
The global financial crisis had exacerbated the situation, she continued, as people were looking for an easy way out of their financial stress via the fraudsters promised quick return.
"People, even those doing it tough, need to realise there is no such thing as easy money and any scheme that promises massive returns for a small investment will inevitably turn out to be a scam that could cost a victim their entire life savings."
Police urged people to do their research on messages offering the opportunity for fast or easy money, especially those received via the internet. "Legitimate paperwork" sent by fraudsters to prove the official nature of the proposals were also often frauds, the police said.
Nigerian scams involve the victim being persuaded to advance a relatively small sum of money to the scammer in the hope of eventually receiving a fortune. A spokesperson for the police could not confirm if this scam was an email- or post-based scam.
According to the Queensland police's fraud and corporate crimes group Australians send around $36 million to Nigerian scammers each year. To hear a clip of ZDNet.com.au talking to a Nigerian scammer, follow this link.
In a separate case, police have also charged four Malaysian nationals for allegedly being involved in credit card fraud where gift cards were bought with a fake driver's licence and a credit card using skimmed data. The police did not specify where and how the data had been acquired.