Heartless Scammers Are Cold Calling Bushfire Victims
Police in South Australia have urged the public to be aware of a possible scam that is targeting victims of the state's bushfire emergency.
People from bushfire-affected regions have received calls from someone claiming to be from a bank who offered them disaster relief money, police said on Monday evening.
In the scam, the caller asks for the person's bank account details to deposit the bogus funds.
Police said calls have also been received from those who aren't in bushfire-affected regions.
"Police wish to remind the public not to disclose details to anyone over the phone," the statement said, urging anyone who receives such a call to report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's website, Scam Watch.
The scam warning comes as losses from the Adelaide Hills bushfire mount and deteriorating weather conditions loom.
By Monday, at least 86 homes were confirmed destroyed, along with almost 500 other buildings.
The Country Fire Service (CFS) said more than 900 properties have been assessed, with another seven suffering major damage and 20 minor damage.
The number of vehicles lost has jumped to 278, while agricultural losses are also growing, with about 1,100 hectares of vineyards thought to be destroyed or damaged.
Small areas of the fire's 127-kilometre perimeter flared up on Monday but were quickly dealt with by 200 CFS firefighters who were on the ground.
Premier Steven Marshall visited the fire ground on Monday and said there was still much work to be done to fully contain the fire and help the victims along with wider communities.
He announced the appointment of a recovery coordinator to "help residents and local businesses get back on their feet".
So far, about 40,000 hectares have been burnt by bushfires across the state.
One person, 69-year-old Ron Selth, died in the Adelaide Hills blaze as he tried to defend his property at Charleston. Another three people remain in hospital with burns.