Transnational Fraud on the Elderly


tags: Fraud, NSW, International,

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By Pierre Lindner

From the June 2018 issue of the APJ.

The ability of criminal groups to adapt to changes in technology has presented enormous challenges to the traditional policing model and has allowed criminals to use technology to transcend borders and hinder attempts to bring them to justice. Fraud has been an area particularly impacted by changes in technology and, with scams estimated to cost Australians $299.8 million in 2016 (Scamwatch, 2016) the incentive to develop and deploy new fraud methods is substantial. A recent investigation by the NSWPF demonstrates how versatile crime groups have become when it comes to adapting their methods to changing technology or exploiting weaknesses in existing technology, allowing them to commit offences and launder the proceeds of those offences.


In January 2016, NSWPF detectives based at Surry Hills in Sydney took a report froman elderly male who had been the victim of a fraud that resulted in him losing his life savings, a sum of nearly $200,000. The victim reported receiving a phone call from a man who claimed to be an investigator, using the alias Harry, employed by the victim’s bank. Harry informed the victim that his credit card had been usedat somehigh-endstores in Sydney by a male claiming to be the victim’s nephew. Harry advised the victim that his bank details had been compromiseddue to an internal leak at the bank and that the victim needed to urgently contact the NSWPF who were investigating the matter. Harry then provided the victim with the name of a police officer who was said to be the officer in charge of the investigation. He also provided a phone number to contact him on. This name proved to be the name of a high-rankingserving police officer, probably obtained from a media stand up. Further to that Harry informed the victim that the only way that his money would be secure was for him to transfer it to a holding account in England while the police and the bank investigated the issue further.

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