Australian Federal Police investigators have charged a 38-year-old Sydney man with stealing more than $ 100,000 in an illegal SMS phishing scam.
AFP arrested the man at premises near his home in Ryde, a Sydney suburb, on Wednesday, November 24, 2021, and charged him with the alleged theft of more than $ 100,000 from bank accounts and telecommunications of more than 450 victims.
The 38-year-old was denied bail and remanded in custody to subsequently appear in local court in Hornsby on January 20, 2021, charged with three offenses.
Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending text messages and emails claiming to be from reputable companies (such as banks or telephone operators) in an attempt to convince victims to reveal personal information, such as words from pass and credit card numbers.
The investigation began in September 2021, when AFP obtained information about recordings of suspicious websites suspected of being used to phish customers of Australian telecommunications providers and financial institutions.
It will be alleged that the man used these web pages to trick Australian victims into entering their personal information, which he would then use to access their phone accounts, bank accounts and create new accounts without their knowledge.
Police allege the scam began in 2018 and targeted customers of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Telstra, among others.
AFP worked with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Telstra to identify victims who entered information into these bogus web pages. The companies have placed additional security protocols on these account holders, helping to prevent more than $ 4 million from being stolen from the accounts of 16,000 other Australians.
Investigators have so far reported linked the man to more than $ 100,000 from the accounts of 450 people. Investigations are continuing to determine the extent of this fraud.
AFP agents indicted the man on Wednesday November 24, 2021 after executing a search warrant at his home in Ryde in conjunction with the NSW Police Cybercrime Squad, where they seized drug paraphernalia, several SIM cards , bank cards, electronic devices, cell phones and storage devices. These devices will now be the subject of a more in-depth forensic examination.
Following a second AFP search warrant at a hotel in Sydney’s central business district, a 36-year-old man has been arrested and charged by NSW police. The man was due to appear in the central local court on November 25, 2021, charged with obtaining a dishonest financial advantage by deception and possessing identifying information to commit, facilitate the commission of a criminal act, contrary to the law of 1900 on crimes.
AFP’s cybercrime operations commander Chris Goldsmid said crooks will use every tool they can to exploit people. The Internet and other new technologies offer the possibility of remote access to a greater number of potential victims.
“AFP is responsible for preventing, disrupting and investigating cybercrime offenses having a significant impact on the Australian economy,” said Commander Goldsmid.
“We encourage people to protect themselves against phishing scams by carefully reviewing e-mail or text messages before clicking on a link. Anyone who thinks they have been the victim of a phishing scam or sees anomalies in their banking transactions should contact their bank and report the problem through Report Cyber at cyber.gov.au.
The 38-year-old has been charged by AFP with:
- Unauthorized access, modification or alteration with intent to commit a serious offense, contrary to section 477.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth);
- Producing, providing or obtaining data with the intention of committing a computer offense, contrary to section 478.4 of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
- Dealing with proceeds of crime valued at AUD 100,000 or more, contrary to section 400.4 (1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
The maximum penalty for these offenses is three years’ imprisonment, three years’ imprisonment and 20 years’ imprisonment, respectively.