‘It makes me sick’: Ire as scammers target fire victims
People have reacted with outrage and disgust after police issued a warning that victims of the ongoing bushfire crisis were being targeted in a "possible scam".
South Australia Police are aware of the con where "victims of the recent bushfires are being targeted" and misled in an attempt to gain access to their bank details.
It's prompted a furious response from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who labelled the scammers as "scum" and attacked their "sick" act.
"You know, in these fires, we have seen the best of Australia," Mr Morrison told reporters in Mt Barker today.
"The overwhelming story of these fires is the best of Australians in their response. But in some cases, we've seen some ugly stuff, and they should be ashamed of themselves.
"I think they're scum. It makes me sick."
It was outrage mirrored by the broader Australian community, with social media users erupting in outcry, calling the scammers "pathetic" and "scum", and some saying it was an act it "so low" it was hard to comprehend".
In the suspected scam, bushfire victims had received phone calls from people claiming to be from their bank, offering to provide them with "disaster relief funds", according to South Australia Police. The caller then asks for bank details.
South Australia police said people who've been affected by the bushfires have been targeted, as well as those outside the bushfire regions.
The post on the South Australia Police Facebook page has attracted more than 2700 reactions and been shared more than 3100 times since it was shared yesterday. More than 600 people commented on the post, calling for those behind the suspected scam to be charged.
"These people have no empathy, praying (sic) on people's misfortune," another said.
"That's so low I can't even comprehend it," another disgusted commenter said.
"These scammers, looters etc. that take advantage of disasters to rip people off, need to really 'cop-it' in the courts," one man commented on the post. "I would like to see specific laws drafted and passed to deal with type of lawlessness."
"Really at time when it's supposed to be good will to all, kindness, generosity and love," another said. "Seriously how low and pathetic can people be. These people have been through enough!"
"I can't believe this! Something terrible like the bush fires happen and then someone tries to scam people and take advantage of them! It's appalling, what's wrong with people!"
Police urged members of the public not to hand over their bank details to anyone on the phone.
Anyone who receives a call of this nature is urged to contact Police or make a report via Scam Watch.