NSW Police has dismantled a Sydney-based syndicate whose members posed as telecoms technicians and convinced victims to enable remote access on their computers to fix a “security flaw in their internet”.
Acting on intelligence from the Fintel Alliance - which is run by AUSTRAC and has members including the Big 4 banks - NSW authorities arrested the alleged head of the syndicate, a 25-year-old man from South Wentworthville, and shut down the operation.
The Fintel Alliance said it was “able to provide NSW Police with financial intelligence about a 79-year-old [banking] customer who had $20,000 stolen from him”.
According to NSW Police, the syndicate “used a variety of methods to gain access to the financial accounts of victims and transferred the funds into accounts controlled by them”.
“The most common method involved members of the syndicate ‘cold calling’ victims and asserting to be technicians from their telecommunication company,” the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) said in a statement.
“The syndicate convinced the victim there was a security flaw in their internet access and the victim allowed the syndicate to control their computer via remote access.”
NAB was revealed to have a role in the particular case.
“We work hard to protect our customers, and by working closely together on issues like this we are able to deliver better outcomes for customers and the broader community,” NAB enterprise security officer David Fairman said.
“The threat landscape is constantly evolving and we continue to invest in both detection and prevention to protect our customers.”
Following the arrest and dismantling of the syndicate, NSW Police renewed calls to “never provide banking information to any person over the phone unless you have taken steps to verify who the person requesting it is.”
“Additionally, government agencies and most telephone and internet providers will not request you make payment via, iTunes or Google Play or similar gift cards,” police said.
Launched in 2017, the Fintel Alliance is a public-private partnership that brings together a range of organisations involved in the fight against money laundering, terrorism financing and other serious crime.
So-called remote access scams are used to fleece millions of dollars each year out of Australians.
Back in May, the Australian Cyber Security Centre reported that scammers impersonating federal government cyber security officials were attempting to coax individuals into compromising computers and revealing bank information.