Scammers pretend to help victims with previous rip-off

BRAZEN scammers are using Australia's national crime research group as a pretense to steal money and information.

These cold callers often aim their attacks at those they have ripped off previously, using the identity of the Australian Institute of Criminology to act as investigators.

They pretend to be trying to help, either offering to retrieve money lost or prosecute the original assailant.

Once given the information, it is either passed on for abuse or to illegally access bank accounts.

AIC spokesman Colin Campbell said it was a common ruse employed by "Nigerian 419 scammers", the basis of which was convincing a stranger they had won or inherited a large sum of a money then trying to rip them off.

"These criminals are now using the good reputation of government agencies just as the AIC as a cover for their activities," Mr Campbell said.

The AIC does not investigate fraud cases, that is left to the police.

Anyone who has been contacted by someone purportedly from the AIC about a fraud matter ought to contact, the AIC or police.

An ABS survey in 2011 found about 713,600 victims of fraud lost an average of $2000.