Australia – Two arrested for $1.5 million ‘tap and pay’ fraud

By | May 2, 2017

Two men have been arrested for a $1.5 million fraud involving ‘tap and pay’ transactions across Sydney.

Police raided homes at Greystanes, Rockdale, West Ryde, Bankstown and Ultimo, as well as a Camperdown storage facility, at 6am on Tuesday, May 2.

Guns, replica pistols, prohibited drugs and fraudulent documents were seized. A West Ryde man, 22, and a Greystanes man, 24, were arrested.

The raid was the result of a 10-month investigation by Strike Force Tamarisk from the Fraud and Cybercrime Squad.

Detectives were investigating the use of host card emulation (HCE) technology for fraudulent purchases. The increasingly-common and legal technology provides a virtual replica of electronic banking cards, often for instant transactions from mobile phones.

Police said a “sophisticated, organised group” had been using the software to dupe tap and pay applications for fraudulent transactions across Sydney.

The fraud involved ‘porting’ mobile phones, or diverting messages to a different phone in order to bypass two-step security verification. The fraudsters then hacked bank accounts through mobile applications, and used stolen credit card details to buy luxury goods which were then sold.

Police say the group used HCE to make fraudulent purchases totalling $1.5 million. It is believed at least 45 bank accounts were hacked.

The Greystanes man was today charged with 268 offences including fraud, money laundering, and unauthorised access of information. He was denied bail and is due to appear at Fairfield Local Court tomorrow.

Fraud and Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, said people need to be vigilant in protecting identity information.

“For every advancement in technology, there is a criminal looking for a way to exploit it for their advantage,” he said.

“Personal information from documents such as bank statements, and phone or utility bills, can be used to access bank accounts, port mobile phones, or take over an identity completely.”

Detective Superintendent Katsogiannis said police were “working closely” with financial institutions and telcos, but people need to do “everything possible” to protect their information.

“In particular, mobile phone users should be aware of the warning signs of porting, and if at any time you unexpectedly lose service in a normal service area, contact your telco provider immediately,” he said.

Police have urged anyone with information about technology-enabled crime to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Source: Parramatta Sun