The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch said Aussies need to be on the lookout for the scam which claims they have been awarded money.
“Be wary of contacts claiming you've been awarded a cash settlement for being the victim of identity theft. This is a scam. Do not contact Westchester Court as directed,” Scamwatch said.
The email appears to come from a court in the UK and claims to be an “official notice” that the potential victim has had their identity stolen.
“We regret to inform you that you have been the victim of identity theft. Your identity and consumer credit files were compromised during a data breach where millions of user profiles were exposed to hackers and used in an identity theft scheme now uncovered by federal authorities and interpol,” the email reads.
“The offenders have been prosecuted and ordered to pay a substantial settlement in which you are eligible to receive a portion of. You are eligible to receive reimbursements of false acquisitions, compensation for potential impact to your credit, and any additional claims you may make.”
The email then provides a notification identification number and an email address with which to contact them.
However, Scamwatch warned that contacting the email address would actually see the victim speaking with a scammer.
Anyone who receives the email has been urged not to respond and to report the scam to Scamwatch.
What to do if you have had your identity stolen
If you've been affected by a data breach, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has information on how to respond to a data breach.
The Australian government recommends to:
Report the breach to your bank and super fund
Change your passwords
Be on the lookout for suspicious emails, phone calls, texts or messages through social media
Keep close watch on your bank account for any unauthorised transactions
Request a temporary ban on your credit report to ensure no unauthorised loans or applications