Woman charged after alleged $1 million BEC property scam identified - Cybercrime Squad

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 04:22:09 AM

Cybercrime Squad detectives have charged a woman following an investigation into the fraudulent acquisition of more than $1 million allegedly obtained during a property settlement.

Earlier this year, detectives from State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad established Strike Force Urban 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 ongoing inquiries, detectives were notified after an ACT woman allegedly deposited more than $1 million into a fraudulent account during the settlement period of a property sale.

Further inquiries under Strike Force Urban revealed the recipient’s account details had been sourced from a compromised email address belonging to the woman’s lawyer, which contained altered bank details.

Following extensive investigations, detectives executed a search warrant at a unit on Tennyson Street, Parramatta, about 8.20am on Tuesday 26 October 2021.

During the search, police seized numerous mobile phones and documents for forensic analysis.

Following further inquiries, a 29-year-old Parramatta woman attended Granville Police Station about 10am on Wednesday 24 November 2021.

She was arrested and charged with two counts of recklessly deal with proceeds of crime (more than $5,000 value).

The woman was granted conditional bail and is due to appear at Parramatta Local Court today (Tuesday 14 December 2021).

Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Matthew Craft, said people must remain vigilant when conducting transactions online.

“Get in the habit of checking the email address, URL, and spelling used in all correspondence and heavily scrutinise all transactions that you make online,” Det Supt Craft said.

“BEC scams aren’t easy to detect because the invoices for clients and contractors often use the desired recipients branding but contain altered banking details.

“To avoid being scammed, people should use two-step verification methods where appropriate, and regularly update and maintain strong passwords,” Det Supt Craft said.

Anyone with information regarding fraudulent online 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.