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Retirement

Crime ring siphons millions from Aussies’ investment funds

By Grace Ormsby · September 18 2019
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egg
Cyber crime

Crime ring siphons millions from Aussies’ investment funds

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By Grace Ormsby · September 18 2019
Reading:
egg
Cyber crime

A major online fraud syndicate that used identity theft to steal millions of dollars from unsuspecting individuals’ shares and superannuation accounts has been uncovered by authorities.

ASIC released a statement after a 21-year-old woman appeared before court as part of an investigation into multi-layered cybercrime activity, and said that the commission and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) jointly allege the woman worked as part of a syndicate which used “fraudulently obtained identities to commit large-scale online fraud”.

It was reported that it will be alleged the syndicate used stolen identity information purchased from dark net marketplaces, together with single-use telephone SIM cards and fake email accounts to undertake an “identity takeover”.

Such identities were fraudulently created to mimic real individuals whose identities had been compromised without their knowledge, according to ASIC, with the information then used to open bank accounts at a number of Australian banking institutions.

Investigations have so far uncovered at least 70 bank accounts created using fraudulently obtained identities so far, ASIC reported, with such accounts then used to illegally steal money from the superannuation accounts of the victims and from their share-trading accounts in ASX-listed companies.

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According to a statement, investigations are still underway to identify the number of affected victims and the scale of the alleged fraud, which is expected to be in the millions of dollars range.

The superannuation companies and market participants involved are providing ongoing assistance, as acknowledged by ASIC and the Australian Federal Police.

A further allegation is that the syndicate laundered stolen funds through an overseas contact to purchase untraceable assets including jewellery, with ASIC and the federal police of the belief that the money was then transferred back to Australia through cryptocurrencies.

Commenting on the investigation, the AFP’s manager of cybercrime operations, acting Commander Chris Goldsmid, said the complex investigation revealed cybercrime occurring on multiple levels.

“The consequences of the breaches we have discovered are far-reaching, and can be traced back to cybercrime offences that impact everyday Australians,” he said.

“From identity theft, where innocent victims have their personal details stolen and sold online in dark net marketplaces, to hacking and phishing – this investigation has illustrated the devastating impacts that compromise of your identity can have.”

For ASIC’s deputy chair Daniel Crennan, QC, this matter has highlighted the challenging era of the digitalisation of the criminal economy.

“Cyber security threats such as data breaches and financial system attacks are a major concern for ASIC, and we will continue to pursue not only cyber-related market and superannuation offending, but also the need for institutions to maintain their obligations to ensure they have adequate cyber resilience,” he said.

Investigations are continuing, with further arrests and charges not being ruled out by authorities.

Crime ring siphons millions from Aussies’ investment funds
Cyber crime
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About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

Join The Nest Egg community

We Translate Complicated Financial Jargon Into Easy-To-Understand Information For Australians

Your email address will be shared with nestegg and subject to our Privacy Policy

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