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Ex-journo’s ‘crime file’

Saturday, 2nd April, 2016

A copy of the subpoena for Mr Sheffield. Although scams such are these can be amusing, many look authentic and might trick older residents. A copy of the subpoena for Mr Sheffield. Although scams such are these can be amusing, many look authentic and might trick older residents.

By Darrin Manuel

A former BDT journalist has turned to a life of crime and is now being sought by federal police.

Well, that’s according to a dubious e-mail received by the newspaper yesterday, which told Ben Sheffield he was “invited” to court “because of offence against the law.”

The hilariously-worded subpoena scam, which purports to be from the Australian Federal Police, instructs Mr Sheffield to download files attached to the email, stating they are information in the case against him.

Despite the highly questionable nature of the e-mail, the BDT thought it prudent to question Mr Sheffield about his activities during March this year - the month his unspecified crimes are reported to have been committed.

“I was just chilling. I wasn’t doing anything wrong that I can remember,” he said.

“I kind of wish I was, it would have made for a better story, but there was nothing untoward happening, sorry.”

Mr Sheffield said he also had no interest in being forwarded the “case files” attached to the e-mail, given that they will almost certainly be loaded with computer viruses.

After working at the BDT in 2012, Mr Sheffield moved to Melbourne to work with insurance firm Allianz.

He said he now had no choice but to alert his new employer of his criminal reputation. 

“I suppose I’ll have to call Human Resources tomorrow and give them the heads up, and let them know the AFP is after me,” he laughed.

While such scams can appear humorous to those who encounter them regularly, they can be quite confusing and concerning for some residents, especially the elderly with limited exposure to computers.

This particular scam has surfaced in other States, and swept through Queensland last month prompting police to warn people not to open the email’s files, lest their computer be infected with a virus.

The Australian Federal Police has previously stated it does not issue subpoenas by e-mail, and any such message should be immediately deleted.

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