Foreign students are arrested after they are caught forging signatures and taking out money from Australian banks in multi-million dollar RIPOFF

Strike Force police have caught out international students scamming millions from banks as part of an overseas criminal syndicate group.

Those involved have been using forged signatures and documents to convince bank staff they are the the legitimate bank account holders, and then withdrawing the cash.

Twenty-four people have been arrested so far with more to follow, and 288 charges have been laid by police over $2.5 million stolen from banks, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Mostof the perpetrators were in Australia on student visas.

In some cases, the syndicate has been bypassing the banks verification systems by taking over mobile phone numbers of victims, the publication declared.


© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Twenty-four people have been arrested, and 288 charges have been laid by police over $2.5 million stolen from banks Many of those who have been caught have been already sentenced to jail since Strike Force Wilmot was established in 2013.  

One man was sentenced to a minimum of 20 months prison in January, while another was jailed in February.

NSW Police cyber crime chief Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis told the Daily Telegraph Strike Force Wilmot did an awesome job catching those persons involved.

‘We have worked very closely with the financial institutions in order to identify those responsible,’ Det Katsogiannis said.


Henry Sapiecha


Hoax alert

From time to time, we send emails and text messages (SMS) to our customers to update them with important information. Sometimes, fraudsters may send you “hoax” messages that appear to come from us, in order to trick you into revealing sensitive information. That’s why it’s important to remember that we will never send you a message asking you to confirm, update or disclose your personal or banking information. To help keep your account and personal information safe, here are some examples of hoax email/SMS, and what you should do if you receive one.


How to spot a scam



Pronounced ‘smishing’, they are SMS messages that attempt to direct you (via a link) to a fraudulent website and request you to input your personal information. These messages typically include an urgent call to action – such as to re-verify or unfreeze an account that is ‘suspended’ or set to ‘expire’ or to claim a tax refund. SMiShing campaigns targeted at our customers would typically link to a site that asks for your client number, NetBank password, card number or PIN. The hoax SMS may try to pass itself off as a legitimate message from the bank by including our contact number, and may also spoof (fake) our sender label/ID so that the ‘from’ field reads ‘CommBank’ or ‘NetBank’.

Tips to avoid SMS scams:

  • Commonwealth Bank will never send an SMS that asks you to confirm, update or disclose personal or banking information, and most financial institutions follow the same practice. Never click on a link provided in such an SMS.
  • Instructions on how to send these messages to Commonwealth Bank for further investigation is listed below.




Pronounced ‘fishing’, emails are used by fraudsters to trick people into entering their personal information, such as bank account details, on a website controlled or monitored by the attacker. The fraudster can then use this information for illegal purposes, such as transferring funds or purchasing goods. Phishing emails are often designed to imitate your most trusted service providers – a bank, cloud service provider or other financial institution, and may include links to a convincing replica home page.

Tips to avoid email scams:

  • We will never send messages via email that ask you to confirm, update or disclose personal or banking information, and most financial institutions follow the same practice.
  • Hard as they might try, these emails don’t always get the branding and design of your service provider quite right. If you’re in any way unsure about a message that purports to be from an organisation you transact with, compare it to previous correspondence from the same organisation.
  • If you’re still unsure, contact the organisation directly using a phone number from their website (not from the email) before you reply.
  • Never open an attachment that you’re unsure about as it may contain malicious software designed to infect your computer.
  • You can typically check that links in emails are legitimate by ‘hovering’ your mouse over the link to view the destination URL (web address), without risking having to click it. On your smartphone, you need to tap and hold on the link and wait for the URL to appear.


Do not open this text message from the Commonwealth bank ‘supposedly’

THE Commonwealth Bank is warning customers not to respond to a text message which instructs them to log into their accounts via a link provided as part of a phishing scam.

The messages have reportedly been delivered to hundreds of the bank’s customers in a series of hoax emails and SMS’ circulating throughout Australia.

Recipients were advised to “log into your account center (sic) for verifiacation (sic)” by using a link included in the hoax messages.

**These clowns scamming an Australian banks customers using the American spelling of ‘CENTRE’


CommBank responded to online queries regarding the text messages.

“Yes this is a phishing text, where the sender is trying to get information on your banking,” a CommBank statement read.

“Please forward this text to the Security team can take it from there.

“So long as you have not entered your information then your accounts will be safe.”


Protected computers will display this warning message when recipients of the CommBank scam text message try to follow the link provided in a text message.

Earlier, the bank issued another statement which revealed it was “aware of a number of hoax emails and SMSs currently in circulation”.

“Remember, we’ll never send you anything that asks you to provide your NetBank client number, password, NetCode SMS, credit card details or send you an unexpected attachment,” it read.

“Hoaxes are becoming more sophisticated and can look very convincing.

“Please be sure to share this with any friends or relatives so they stay safe online.”

The fake CommBank text comes after ANZ customers were being advised to take extra caution after the discovery of a very convincing scam.

The fake ANZ Bank email advised recipients that their ‘last payment was unsuccessful’ and prompts them to login, where cyber criminals can steal their credentials.

Cyber security company MailGuard believed the scam email from August had already been sent to a very large number of inboxes.

“The email, from a display name of ANZ internet Banking and sender email address of, claims that ANZ have been unable to contact you, and asks customers to click to update their phone number,” MailGuard warned in a blog post.

“When recipients click through they arrive on a well-crafted ANZ internet Banking landing page where they are prompted to login, so doing handing over their Customer Registration Number (CRN) and Password.”

ANZ said customers should delete the email immediately and contact the helpdesk immediately if they have clicked on any links or downloaded any attachments, responded to the hoax email, SMS or phone call with your banking details or noticed any unusual payments.


Henry Sapiecha

Phishing scam targets National Australia Bank customers with fake website

Phishing scam targets NAB customers with fake website

NAB online banking customers are the latest target of an email scam that tells victims their account has been disabled before prompting them to enter their password into a fake website.

The email sent to NAB customers tells recipients their bank account has been disabled and prompts them to click a link to reactivate their account.


The email sent by scammers. Photo: Mailguard

The link takes the recipient to a very realistic, but fake, copy of NAB’s banking website, which is designed to harvest the victim’s account ID and password.

NAB said late on Thursday night that the fake website had been removed.


A screen shot of the fake website through which scammers try to obtain online banking details. Photo: Mailguard

A NAB spokeswoman said the bank had issued a take-down notice to have the fake website removed after it became aware of the scam.

“We remind customers, NAB will never ask you to confirm, update or disclose personal or banking information via email or text,” she said.

The email comes with the subject line ‘Notification’ and is sent from

MailGuard CEO, Craig McDonald, said the company had blocked the distribution of thousands of copies of the email on Thursday afternoon.

“A phishing scam is a fraudulent attempt to steal your information or identity for financial gain. In this case, the perpetrators want victim’s banking details,” he said.

“Creating a fake website allows them to collect peoples’ account number and passwords without arousing suspicion.

“That valuable information is collected and used to make future unauthorised transactions.”

Many NAB customers have taken to Twitter this week to ask the bank whether the email was a scam.

NAB has listed the scam on its website, and advised customers to forward the email to and then delete it.

Victims are urged to contact their local NAB branch, or call 13 22 65 immediately.


Henry Sapiecha

ASIC repeats warning to Australian borrowers about lending up front fees scams


ASIC is warning Australians about scammers asking consumers to make upfront payments for loans that are never provided. This new warning comes on the back of an increased number of recent reports from victims who have lost thousands of dollars from these scams.

The scammers appear to be operating from overseas, and have impersonated genuine Australian companies and Australian Credit Licence holders.  After making a loan enquiry online, the victims generally receive a telephone call or email from the scammers advising them that they qualify for a loan, sometimes for a larger amount than they originally applied for.

Victims are provided with fake loan contracts that look like legitimate contracts, and are often misled by the use of an Australian credit licence number or Australian Company Number belonging to genuine businesses that have no connection to the scam. The scammers also use re-routed Australian phone numbers to create the impression that they are located in Australia.

The scammers then tell the victims that they must pay insurance or fees for the loan before the loan can be provided, usually to Australian bank accounts set up for the purpose of receiving these payments. The deposits requested are often in the thousands, and can be as high as $5400 per consumer. However, after victims make these payments, they never receive the loan.

Legitimate lenders who are authorised under the credit laws in Australia will generally not request that any fees be paid upfront as these establishment costs are usually included in the loan and repaid over time.

“If you are asked to contribute fees or insurance costs before you are advanced any money under the loan, you should treat the proposed transaction with a great deal of suspicion. This is a classic warning sign of a scam”, said ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell.

“Consumers should always take steps to make sure they are dealing with a legitimate business by only dealing with those they can reach through publicly available contact details, rather than accepting unsolicited offers of credit from lenders.”

Consumers should also be aware that they put themselves at risk of potential identity theft by giving out personal information (like copies of identification documents) to parties they don’t know or can’t contact through publicly available contact details.

As the scammers are usually operating overseas, ASIC is generally unable to pursue this type of matter. If you are suffering financial hardship, consider contacting a financial counsellor for help with your debts.  They offer a free service, and can be contacted via 1800 007 007.

Practical online scam prevention tips

  • Only deal with reputable online institutions
  • Do your background checks, but be aware that scammers can pretend to be a licensed credit provider located in Australia.
  • Be very suspicious of any requests for upfront payment, even if making a deposit into an Australian bank account.

Always check that the business you are dealing with is readily listed in the public domain. If there is anything you are unsure about, call the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on 1300 300 630.


Henry Sapiecha

Banks should make PayWave an option to stop fraud, parliamentary committee tells government

PayWave has led to a rise in low value fraud transactions image

Cash out: New systems such as payWave have led to a rise in low value fraud transactions. Photo: Eddie Jim

Law-enforcement authorities have won a victory in their bid to stem rising fraud from increased use of contactless payment cards.

The joint federal parliamentary committee on law enforcement has accepted police recommendations that banks seek customers’ consent before activating contactless, or so-called “tap-and-go” and “payWave”, payment services on credit and debit cards.

The recommendation was contained in the committee’s report on its inquiry into financial crime in Australia tabled in parliament on Monday. The inquiry, launched March 2014, sought to detect flaws in the Commonwealth’s ability to effectively combat financial crime.

Tap-and-go payments allow consumers to make purchases up to $100 without having to supply a PIN or signature.

However, the committee heard evidence from Victoria Police that the introduction of tap-and-go payments had led to a rise in low value fraud transactions using stolen cards by up to 100 transactions per wee

Victoria Police argued that whilst banks had weighed the cost of tap-and-go fraud against convenience and found it worked in favour of their balance sheets, they had failed to adequately recognise other policing concerns.

Among them, said Victoria Police, was an increased motivation to steal credit and debit cards, which could drive and increase violent crime.

“The major banks provide a Zero Liability Policy to customers who are victims of fraudulent transactions. This policy is clearly advertised in conjunction with ‘Tap and Go’ technology. Widespread promotion of the Zero Liability Policy is expected to motivate offenders who are likely to see that the victim will not be at a personal loss,” Victoria Police told the committee.

ANZ Banks head of Financial Crime repudiated police concerns, telling the committee “at the moment with the low thresholds on (tap-and-go) I do not think it is a realistic large threat to fraud losses. I think some of the other issues we have been discussing are much bigger threats in terms of financial loss and customer inconvenience”.

Henry Sapiecha