Eight arrested; more than $1 million frozen or recovered during week of action - Cybercrime Squad

Tuesday, 09 November 2021 08:20:20 PM

Cybercrime Squad detectives have laid more than 20 charges during a ‘Week of Action’ targeting business email compromise scams.

Earlier this year, detectives from State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad established Strike Force Urban and Strike Force Caredon to investigate numerous fraudulent transactions resulting from cyber-enabled ‘invoice frauds’, or business email compromise (BEC) scams.

A BEC occurs when an individual or a company receives a fake invoice purporting to be from a service or goods provider, requesting that money be sent to a fraudulent account.

As part of a global takedown campaign targeting fraudulent activity undertaken with this method, Cybercrime Squad detectives commenced a ‘Week of Action’ from Monday 25 October 2021.

Of note, detectives executed two search warrants at units at Sefton and Yagoona on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 October 2021.

Two men – aged 20 and 23 – were arrested and taken to local police stations.

The older man was charged with three counts of recklessly deal with proceeds of crime more than $5000.

Police will allege in court the man fraudulently obtained numerous payments totalling $759,315 via an online BEC scam targeting a mortgage broker on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

It will be further alleged he spent a large portion of the proceeds on gold bullion.

The man appeared at Bankstown Local Court on Wednesday 3 November 2021, where he was formally refused bail to appear at the same court on Wednesday 12 January 2022.

The younger man was charged with two counts of deal with property proceeds of crime more than $100,000 and granted strict conditional bail to appear at Bankstown Local Court on Thursday 18 November 2021.

Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Matthew Craft, said investigators laid more than 20 charges during the coordinated campaign singling out BEC crime.

“Last year, more than $128 million was lost to BEC scams in Australia and they remain a significant problem for businesses and individuals,” Det Supt Craft said.

“Our squad is well-equipped to investigate these types of crimes and we’re lucky to have a great relationship with federal and international law enforcement partners like the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as well as the banks and the private sector more generally.

“During the Week of Action, we also identified and engaged with more than 20 high-risk businesses, who we deemed most susceptible to these scams, so they can be better equipped to deal with any breach moving forward.

“Importantly, we also served a number of warning notices to certain individuals who may have acted as a ‘money mule’, and received proceeds from a BEC scam, sometimes unknowingly.

“It is essential that every transaction online be heavily scrutinised; scammers use slight differences to trick your eye and gain your trust – so get in the habit of checking the email address, URL, and spelling used in all correspondence,” Det Supt Craft said.

Anyone with information about cyber-enabled crime 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.