What is Fraud?

Fraud is broadly defined as an act on behalf of a person that is deceptive or deceitful in some way in that it causes them to receive a benefit that they are not entitled to.  In this way some other person or organisation to suffer some disadvantage.

Fraud in New South Wales is a growing problem.  With the advent of on-line services and the internet fraud can be committed in dozens of ways.

Victims of Fraud

The victims of fraud can sustain significant financial and psychological harm as a result.  The results of this can be devastating for business and individuals therefore society as a whole suffers greatly.  Some victims are often of embarrassed that they do not report fraud as they think that Police or their friends and family will think less of them.

Our Duty

Our duty to the people in New South Wales is to try to minimise the amount of fraud and to educate people (both individuals and the business community) about how to minimise risk of fraud affecting you.

The New South Wales Police Force are working with other Australian Government agencies as well as business and community groups to help us address this problem.

Most fraud is investigated at the local level and this form - Fraud Report Form - is required to be completed and lodged prior to an investigation commencing.

Scams are commonplace and they target both businesses and the individual. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission role is to provide information to all Australians in order for them to protect themselves against all types of fraud and scams. The New South Wales Police encourage you to visit their site to familiarise yourself with this type of activity and the latest trends.

Fraud is an ever growing and evolving field. If you have any information about people who are involved in:

  • Fraud
  • The manufacture of fake identification (including importing of equipment to do this)
  • Cheque Washing
  • Mail Theft
  • Creation of bank accounts and drivers licences whilst using fake details,
  • Money laundering
  • Or any other type of fraud

The NSW Police Force encourages you report this to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online.

Dating and romance scams

Dating and romance scams - don't let them break your heart or wallet

Dating and romance scams are very destructive – both financially and emotionally. In 2013, more money was lost to dating and romance scams than any other type of scam, with over $25 million reported lost in Australia - $7.4 Million from NSW alone.

Unfortunately, the scammers have a high rate of success, with 43 per cent of people who reported an approach by an ‘admirer’ losing money – on average over $21,000! These scams also cause significant emotional harm, with many victims reporting a break down in relationships with friends and family.

With the proliferation of online dating websites, forums and social media channels, these scams are moving increasingly into the online space. Online communication channels allow scammers to operate anonymously from anywhere in the world.

Source: Targeting scams: Report of the ACCC on scams activity 2013 - Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

How these scams work

Scammers exploit their victim’s emotions in order to take their money. They can be very elaborate hoaxes, sometimes taking years to develop and run by experienced criminal syndicates.

The scammer develops a strong connection with the victim before asking for money to help cover costs associated with a supposed illness, injury, family crisis, travel costs or to pursue a business or investment opportunity.

Scammers often approach their victims on legitimate dating websites before attempting to move the ‘relationship’ away from the safeguards that these sites put in place; communicating through other methods such as email, where they can more easily manipulate victims.

Scammers also target victims through social networking sites, where they ‘like’ them and then express shared interests based on personal information taken from the victim’s profile.

How to stop this happening to you

Keep your personal details personal: Never share personal information or photos with someone you don’t know and trust – especially photos or webcam calls of a private nature. There have been reports of scammers using this material to blackmail victims.

Watch out: If an online admirer asks to communicate with you outside the dating website, such as through a private email address or over the phone, watch out – they could be trying to avoid detection. If you are considering meeting in person, choose a public place and let family or friends know where you are at all times.

Search: Run a Google Image search to check the authenticity of any photos provided. Scammers often use fake photos they’ve found online.

Think twice: Never send money to someone you’ve met online, especially via money order, wire transfer or international funds transfer – it’s rare to recover money sent this way.

Report: If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

Report Scams

If the scam originates in NSW, you can report this to the NSW Police Force by visiting your local police station or calling the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

You can report scams to the ACCC via the ‘report a scam’ page on SCAMwatch (www.scamwatch.gov.au) or by calling 1300 795 995. If you met the scammer through a dating service or social media, you should also inform the dating service/social channel of your experience so that they can try and stop the scammer hurting others.

Where to find out more:

Scamwatch - www.scamwatch.gov.au

NSW Fair Trading - www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - Targeting scams: Report of the ACCC on scams activity 2013 - Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) - http://www.accc.gov.au/publications/targeting-scams-report-on-scam-activity

Fraud Prevention Tips

The NSW Police Force has prepared a series of videos and tip sheets to help you protect yourself against various forms of fraud. These are available on our Crime Prevention Tips page.

Fail to Pay for Fuel

To the Service Station Proprietor

The offence of Fail to Pay (also known as Drive-Offs) is an ongoing concern of the service station industry and wider community. Hence, the NSW Police has taken steps to standardise the way that these offences are reported by the service station industry to the police.  This will assist the police to identify, investigate and prosecute people who commit this crime.  The new process involves the introduction of a new form that is available from the internet.  Police attendance at every offence of this type will now no longer be necessary.

The New Method

Before Sunday 1 September 2013 all calls to police reporting a Drive-Off are made to local station or to PoliceLink Command. Thereafter Police previously came to the service station to take the crime report.

From this point forth this process will change and a new form will be on the internet that service station representatives will be required to complete. The form can be located after clicking the link below:

Drive Off or Fail to Pay for Fuel - Police Link Command - Main Reporting Form (PDF)

The form will have to be completed to the best of the ability of the service station representative and ideally it would be best if it was completed by the actual witness of the offence.

This form can be completed  "on-line" prior to printing and faxing it. All information sought by Police in the form is critical to any investigation and everything that is recorded is taken into account. It is important that the report of the matter is made to PoliceLink Command at the earliest opportunity to maximise the chance of Police being able to identify the person who failed to pay for the petrol product.

The form then must be faxed to PoliceLink Command on (02) 4353 4948. A reply fax will be sent to to the reporting service station with an Event Number as well as contact information of the local police station.

The report will be assessed at the local station (Local Area Command) and the Police will make contact about the investigation process.  When the investigation commences an officer will contact you to make time when you will be asked to come to the station to supply a formal statement and bring in any CCTV of the incident should you have it.

If, for some reason, the form can't be accessed on the on-line domain please contact the local police and ask that a copy be either faxed or delivered to the service station.

This site also has a number of helpful hints to assist the service station industry to protect itself from fraud and other associated crime. A form was previously published on this site. This form has been replaced with what is now published below.

Contact your local Police station should you require further information about this project and we thank you for your co-operation.

Useful Links

  • Stay Smart Online – Australian Government's online safety and security website.
  • Scamwatch – Provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.
  • ASIC – Australian Securities and Investment Commission (Report suspicious Business activity)
  • ACMA – Australian Communications and Media Authority (Report SPAM, unsolicted SMS)
  • ACCC – Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Report Scams, large amount of information on consumer awareness information)
  • ACORN - Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network
  • APRA – Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (Oversees conduct of participants of superannuation industry)
  • AFP - Australian Federal Police
  • AusTRAC – Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
  • BDM - NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (information on reducing identity theft)