Woman charged as part of ongoing investigations into business email compromise scam

A woman will face court today charged over her alleged involvement in an email scam valued at more than $50,000.

In April this year, detectives from State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad were notified after funds had been electronically transferred to pay for a new vehicle based on information sourced from a compromised email address.

Further inquiries revealed account details belonging to the intended recipient of the funds had been altered.

Following extensive investigations, officers arrested a 42-year-old woman at Kings Cross Police Station just after 8pm yesterday (Tuesday 24 August 2021).

She was charged with recklessly deal with proceeds of crime more than $5000, dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception, and recklessly deal with proceeds of crime less than $5000.

Police will allege in court the woman fraudulently obtained nearly $53,000 from the scam and used the proceeds to purchase gold bullion and other items.

The Woolloomooloo woman was refused bail to appear at Central Local Court today (Wednesday 25 August 2021).

Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Matthew Craft, said financial crimes such as business email compromise (BEC) scams are becoming increasingly costly for Australian businesses.

“Last year we saw a 260 per cent increase in scam losses reported by Australian businesses and around $128 million lost to business email compromise scams,” Det Supt Craft said.

“We know these types of scams aren’t easy to detect as the invoices for clients and contractors often use the desired recipients branding but contain altered banking details.

“To avoid being scammed it is crucial all businesses utilise robust IT systems and two-step verification methods where appropriate, as well as regularly update and maintain strong passwords.

“I encourage anyone who believes they may have fallen victim to an online scam such as a BEC to contact police immediately.

“Early engagement with law enforcement is crucial to preventing funds obtained from being further transferred by the offenders involved,” Det Supt Craft said.

Investigations are continuing.

A business email compromise (BEC) occurs when an individual or a company receives a fake invoice purporting to be from a service or goods provider, expecting payment to the fraudster’s account or another account which will then transfer the funds to the fraudster’s account.

Anyone with information about cyber-enabled crime 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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