Advance Fee Fraud project launchedDeputy Commissioner (Specialist Operations) Ian Stewart has today been joined by His Excellency, Professor Sunday Oluwadare Agbi, the Federal Republic of Nigeria High Commissioner to Australia to launch a world first online reporting system set to keep the Queensland Police Service at the forefront of fraud investigation.
Advance fee fraud, the process of victims being lured into get rich schemes with the promise of unlocking “inheritances” or large sums of money by sending money overseas is becoming more prevalent. It is a crime that is costing the community both emotionally and financially.
Currently over $600,000 is being sent overseas by Queenslanders each month as part of these scams.
“The opportunities are becoming more frequent as offenders become more sophisticated. Scams change daily and quite often keep up with the technology created to counteract them,” Deputy Commissioner Stewart said.
His Excellency, Professor Sunday Luwadare Agbi believes the system will ensure greater cooperation between law enforcement partners across the globe.
“The challenge for police investigating these crimes is that the offender and victim often live on either side of the world. A system such as this makes it easier for police to share information and work together to catch the offenders and prevent further crimes. We are very keen to work with Australian authorities to combat crimes of this nature,” he said.
The State Crime Operations Command Fraud and Corporate Crime Group are leaders in investigation, prevention and education in this area.
“The group is not only proactive in providing education and awareness through conferences and symposiums, but work with law enforcement partners and industry to prevent and solve these crimes,” Deputy Commissioner Stewart said.
Each week the unit is being contacted by Queenslanders who have lost their life savings through a scam. Quite often these victims are not only suffering financially but also emotionally.
“Victims are coming to us having lost their home, life savings and any chance of an early retirement. To some it is quite an embarrassing situation. Because of this, many of these crimes do not get reported,” Deputy Commissioner Stewart said.
To alleviate this, the Fraud and Corporate Crime Group has established the advance fee fraud online reporting portal, a web-based reporting system.
Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Fraud and Corporate Crime Group believes the system will make it easier for victims to report the matter without embarrassment and will assist the police in investigating these offences.
“We expect the system to provide us with powerful intelligence and statistical information which is crucial to ensuring our investigative techniques and education is relevant and effective,” Detective Superintendent Hay said.
“This is also a powerful tool for us. As the information comes into the Queensland Police, they will direct any relevant enquiries to our law enforcement members. This will give them a unique opportunity to investigate and prosecute those offenders preying on victims around the world,” His Excellency, Professor Sunday Luwadare Agbi said.
“Increasing awareness and educating the public is important for us. We are always looking for new ways to prevent these offences occurring. In October we will be hosting the National Advance Fee Fraud Symposium on the Gold Coast which is focused on educating businesses and organisations who may be potential targets for these offenders,” Detective Superintendent Hay said.
The online reporting system can be located on the police website at www.police.qld.gov.au
More information regarding the upcoming National Advance Fee Fraud Symposium or Identity Crime Symposium can visit www.police.qld.gov.au/News+and+Alerts/campaigns/synergy
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