Police charge man after more than $170,000 stolen during BEC scam

Detectives have charged a man over his alleged involvement in a business email compromise scam against a Sydney telecommunications business.

Last 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 last September after an employee of a Sydney business deposited more than $177,000 into a fraudulent account upon receiving an altered invoice for payment.

Following extensive investigations, a 23-year-old man was arrested by detectives at a home in Guildford around 8.30am today (Friday 8 July 2022).

He was taken to Granville Police Station and charged with recklessly deal with proceeds of crime more than $5,000.

Police will allege the man facilitated the email scam and dealt with proceeds of crime to the value of $177,000.

He was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court today.

Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Matthew Craft, said scams such as BECs were becoming increasingly costly for both individuals and businesses across Australia.

“Recent data by the ACCC shows that in 2021 scammers stole more than double the amount from us than they did the previous year,” Det Supt Craft said.

“Phishing scams – which in the case of this BEC scam was how the person’s email address became compromised – increased 183 per cent from 2019 to 2020, and a further 62 per cent last year.

“It is imperative that when you conduct any transactions online, you heavily scrutinise the finer details of email addresses, URLs and spelling used in any invoices or documents related to that payment.

“The alleged victim was lucky in that much of the $177,000 was frozen after checks and balances from the banks, however, they still remain out of pocket more than $20,000 from this scam,” Det Supt Craft said.

Investigations under Strike Force Urban continue.

Anyone with information about online fraud or BEC scams 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.

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