An elderly grandmother nearly lost $50,000 after she was targeted by cruel scammers who threatened to hurt her children.
Retired school teacher Alma, 82, is just one of hundreds who have fallen victim to the con set up by criminals pretending to be from the Australian Federal Police.
Scammers have been calling innocent Aussies pretending to be federal agents, telling victims they have identified suspicious activity in their bank accounts and asking them to hand over personal details including banking information.
In more sinister cases, some victims are emailed fake arrest warrants and are then forced to deposit money into nominated banks accounts or through online vouchers.
Alma was ordered by her scammer to drive around to different bank accounts depositing money - saying the ploy has left her terrified to leave her home.
'I was frightened all the time, everywhere I go I always look behind me,' she told A Current Affair.
'Sometimes they said ''we're going to hurt your children too, your daughter''.'
Her daughter said the widowed grandmother, who has a PHD in chemistry, was pressured not to tell anyone about the scam.
'(They were) scaring her and telling her if she told anyone that they would hurt her and her family,' she said.
'They had bullied her to the point she wasn't thinking, she would say it was like she was in a trance.'
Retired school teacher Alma, 82, is just one of many that have found themselves victim to the con set up by criminals pretending to be from the Australian Federal Police
Thankfully for Alma the money she deposited was able to be transferred back to her or refunded by the banks in time.
But not everyone has been so lucky with 18-year-old psychology student Daniel Waterhouse losing his life savings when he was told to purchase a series of gift vouchers at a local post office.
Worrying, he said the number that was calling was the same number shown on the AFP's website when he looked it up.
'When you're in that moment you sort of don't realise that it's