Man charged after allegedly defrauding vulnerable community member - Wollongong

Saturday, 12 November 2022 10:18:03 AM

Police have charged a man following an investigation into the alleged defrauding of a Wollongong man of more than $300,000.

Detectives from Lake Illawarra Police Area Command commenced an investigation in June 2022 following reports a 76-year-old man had been defrauded.

It will be alleged in court that a man, known to the victim, used identification documents to generate fraudulent bank and superannuation accounts before applying to transfer the vulnerable man’s superannuation balance.

Following extensive inquiries, a 40-year-old man was arrested at Lake Illawarra Police Station about 2pm yesterday (Friday 11 November 2022).

The man was charged with seven offences, including four counts of deal with identity to commit an indictable offence, two counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception and make false document to obtain financial advantage.

He was granted conditional bail to appear at Port Kembla Local Court on Wednesday 23 November 2022.

Lake Illawarra Police Area Command’s Crime Manager, Detective Chief Inspector Brad Ainsworth said the alleged incident was an opportunistic attack, taking advantage of a vulnerable community member.

“After some good police work, we were able to identify the man involved and ensure he will be put before the court.

“If you have doubts about the identity of anyone who claims to represent a business, organisation or government department, contact the body directly. Don’t rely on contact details provided by the person – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search,” Det Ch Insp Ainsworth said.

“Never provide your personal or banking details to a person - remember that legitimate businesses don’t just cold-call customers and ask for confidential information,” Det Ch Insp Ainsworth said.

Police strongly encourage the community to report any potential scams to their local police station, or to the ACCC via SCAMWATCH report a scam page www.scamwatch.gov.au or by calling 1300 795 995.

Anyone with information about suspected fraudulent activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.