Scammers have impersonated Australian Crime Commission CEO John Lawler in an attempt to lure consumers into paying for fake clearance certificates.
The letter bore forgeries of the ACC's letterhead and Lawler's signature, as well as personal details of the recipient, including their name and address.
It claimed that a consignment had arrived for the recipient at an overseas depot, but would not be released until cleared by the ACC at the cost of "thousands of dollars in payment".
The ACC was alerted to the scam by one recipient who had received it by fax while legitimately expecting a consignment to be delivered.
While the commission could not specify how fraudsters obtained the recipient's personal details, Lawler told iTnews that they had "sophisticated and technical means of accessing data".
"They are looking for any personal information which they can use to obtain a financial benefit," he said.
"This includes names, dates of birth, credit card details, other financial details and emails/phone numbers of friends and business associates."
The commission labelled the scam identity fraud. Lawler said he was concerned - but not surprised - that criminals had sought to steal his identity and exploit it in this way.
In June 2008, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that almost half a million people had been a victim of identity fraud in the previous 12 months, losing a total of $977 million.
"In this case, I am concerned about the potential for members of the public to be fooled by this fake letter that carries my name and that of the ACC," Lawler stated.
"I want people to know that the ACC would never send letters or emails asking them to send money."
The ACC encouraged anyone who received an email claiming to be from the ACC and asking for money to report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's SCAMwatch.