Two men have been charged following an investigation into technology-enabled crime in Sydney.
In July 2016, detectives from the Fraud and Cybercrime Squad established Strike Force Tamarisk to investigate the use of Host Card Emulation (HCE) via ‘Tap and Pay’ applications to make fraudulent purchases across Sydney.
HCE is the technology dependent architecture that provides the exact virtual representation of various electronic banking cards using software only.
Their inquiries identified a sophisticated organised group who had been porting mobile phones, compromising bank accounts through mobile applications, enabling the use of credit cards to purchase electronic and luxury goods, which are then on-sold.
Following extensive investigations, strike force detectives executed seven search warrants, including five at homes at Rockdale, West Ryde, Greystanes, Bankstown, and Ultimo, an office at Auburn, and a storage facility at Camperdown, from 6am Tuesday 2 May 2017.
During the warrants, police seized three firearms, two replica pistols, prohibited drugs, and fraudulent identification documents.
Two men – aged 22 and 24 – were arrested during the operation and taken to local police stations.
The 22-year-old West Ryde man was charged with 21 fraud-related offences and participate in a criminal group.
He was refused bail to appear at Burwood Local Court Wednesday 3 May 2017.
The 24-year-old Greystanes man was charged with 268 offences, including fraud, money laundering, dealing with identity information, unauthorised access of information, and participate in a criminal group.
He was refused bail to appear at Fairfield Local Court.
Police will allege in court the men were part of a group using HCE to make fraudulent purchases totalling about $1.5 million. It is believed at least 45 bank accounts were compromised.
Fraud and Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, reminded members of the community to be vigilant in protecting identity information.
“For every advancement in technology, there is a criminal looking for a way to exploit it for their advantage,” Det Supt Katsogiannis said.
“Personal information from documents such as bank statements, and phone or utility bills, can be used to access bank accounts, port mobile phones, or take over an identity completely.
“While we are working closely with financial institutions and telco providers in this space, we urge the community to ensure they are doing everything possible to prevent their personal information from being unlawfully accessed.
“In particular, mobile phone users should be aware of the warning signs of porting, and if at any time you unexpectedly lose ‘service’ in a normal service area, contact your telco provider immediately.
“To keep up-to-date on emerging trends or scams, visit scamwatch.gov.au or the Fraud and Cybercrime Squad’s Facebook page,” Det Supt Katsogiannis said.
Investigations under Strike Force Tamarisk are continuing and further arrests are expected.
Police are urging anyone with information about technology-enabled crime is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.
Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
Police remind people they should not report crime information via their social media pages.