Beware the brutal Gmail and Hotmail scam costing victims MILLIONS

A FAMILY have told of their harrowing ordeal after almost losing their life savings and dream home to cyber crooks.

Cassie and Dennis Aviles, of Sydney, Australia, sent £580,000 ($790,000) to a fraudster posing as their solicitor in order to finalise the sale of their new house.

"I've gone to the branch and transferred all of our money [which] they are now telling us is in some kind of scam account," Cassie told 9News.

"They're not sure if they're going to be able to retrieve it for us."

The couple, who have three young children, were due to complete the purchase next week.

On Wednesday, they received an email from someone who they believed was their solicitor asking them to transfer them the large sum of money.

The email is said to have looked legitimate and provided account details for the payment of 1.1million Australian dollars.

"[The email had] his name, his business name and all of the contracts we've signed for the new property were all attached," Cassie said.

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She alerted the solicitor, Tanveer Khan, that the transfer had been made to his firm's bank account and was shocked at his response.

"He yelled into the phone call the bank straight away," she said.

After 9News got in contact with Cassie's bank, they were able to retrieve the funds, which will be returned to the Aviles family in the coming days.

Local police are also investigating the scam.

Phishing emails are on the rise and are getting more sophisticated as members of the public wise up to the tried and tested methods of yesteryear.

Last month, The Sun exclusively revealed that scammers are using false promises of quick and easy tests for the recently emerged Covid-19 strain in an attempt to fleece victims out of their cash.

According to UK cybercrime experts, the crooks are sending out masses of emails dressed up as NHS messages regarding the Omicron variant.

Recipients are encouraged to click a link in the email to order a free testing kit for the mutant strain which is currently sweeping the globe.

When someone follows the link, they're taken to a phoney health service webpage that asks them to plug in their bank account details.

The scam campaign was picked up by fraud-fighting specialists Individual Protection Solutions following a report from one of its members.

Founder Charlie Shakeshaft said the ploy was "particularly sinister" because it played on people's fears about the new variant.

"Scammers are using the social uncertainty surrounding Omicron to prey on vulnerable people," he told The Sun.

"They’re targeting people who are in desperate need to book a test before the crowds in a bid to get them to act quickly.

"Those who are the most vulnerable to the strain are the most desperate, and so are most likely to fall for the scam, which makes it particularly sinister."

In other news, personalised smart guns, which can be fired only by verified users, may finally become available to U.S. consumers this year.

Scientists are embarking on a mission to unravel the mystery behind dozens of grisly child mummies buried in an underground tomb in Sicily.

Police have caught an Italian mafia henchman who'd be on the run for 20 years after spotting the fugitive on Google Maps.

And, one of the best-preserved fossils ever found has confirmed that young dinosaurs burst from their shells just like baby birds.

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