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Thursday, February 29, 2024

95-year-old victim of ‘cold call’ scammers

Queensland Detectives have charged two men for their role in a multi-million dollar ‘cold call’ money laundering network targeting the elderly.

On Tuesday, detectives from State Crime Command’s Financial and Cyber Crime Group attended a residence in Albion and arrested a 26-year-old man and a 24-year-old man.

Police say more than 150 victims of the pair have been identified as part of an ongoing operation – the majority were elderly victims – with the oldest being 95 years of age.

Detective Inspector Vince Byrnes from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group urged the community to be vigilant.

“Money mules are one of the main methods for laundering proceeds of transnational crime and it is not uncommon for criminals to target students through online advertising, often with the lure of quick money,” he said.

“Individuals tempted to allow their bank accounts to be used for this purpose, to transfer unlawfully obtained money out of the country, should know they are likely supporting serious crime and committing a serious criminal offence in the process.

“I would urge anyone who receives such an approach to stop and think about what they are potentially doing and to never receive money or give bank account details to someone they don’t know or trust,” Det Insp Byrnes said.

Both men have been charged with recklessly engaging in money laundering, bailed to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on September 28.

Police will allege the men, both students, were involved with a network of offenders obtaining millions of dollars through technology scams, receiving dishonestly obtained funds deposited into accounts they had opened, and received a commission for sending this money offshore.

Detectives have identified $3 million in scam funds having been received by offenders and dealt with by the criminal syndicate, who they say operate in excess of 1000 bank accounts around Australia.

There have been a total of 11 arrests made in relation to 25 charges, including reckless money laundering and fraud as part of the ongoing operation.

If you’ve been a victim of an online scam, report to ReportCyber: www.cyber.gov.au/report

If you have lost money, notify your bank immediately.

Learn more about scams at www.scamwatch.gov.au and R U In Control

If you have information for police, contact Policelink by providing information using the online suspicious activity form 24hrs per day at www.police.qld.gov.au/reporting.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.

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