Two charged over $90,000 phone scam

Two men will face court today after being charged over an alleged phone scam that defrauded seven people of more than $90,000 over two months.

“On Tuesday 12 January 2021, detectives from Sydney City Police Area Command commenced an investigation after a 23-year-old woman was reportedly defrauded of nearly $15,000,” NSW Police said in a statement.

They say the woman had received phone calls and messages, from an unknown woman, claiming to be a police officer, informing her she had an outstanding arrest and would be contacted further.

“Later, she received a call from a man, claiming to be from Burwood police, before purchasing $4,500 worth of gift cards and forwarding them to a specified number,” Police said.

“The following day, the woman received a second call from the woman and attended a pre-arranged meeting with a man at Barangaroo, before giving him a sum of cash.”

Following inquiries, detectives executed a search warrant at a unit on Willeroo Street, Lakemba, seizing electronic devices and clothing.

“Shortly after a 19-year-old man was arrested at Homebush and taken to Campsie Police Station where he was charged with dishonestly obtain financial advantage etc by deception, and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.”

Police have since received reports that a further six people had been defrauded after receiving similar phone calls and messages.

“Following further inquiries, investigators assisted by Operation ODIN executed a search warrant at a unit on Morton Street, Parramatta about 8am yesterday, seizing credit cards and electronic devices,” police said.

“A 20-year-old man was arrested and taken to Granville Police Station where he was charged with nine counts each of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception, and knowingly deal with the proceeds of crime. He was also charged with goods in custody and direct the activities of a criminal group.”

It will be alleged in court that the pair de-frauded seven people of $92,500 over the course of two months.

The Parramatta man was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court today. The Lakemba man was granted conditional bail to appear at Bankstown Local Court on February 9.

“Police are warning members of the public to be wary of any contact over the phone and urge members of the community not to transfer money or gift cards to people they don’t personally know,” NSW Police said.

“People who are contacted should not provide any information over the phone and are urged to contact their local police station should they receive a phone call from someone they don’t know requesting money.”

Safety tips for members of the public:

• If you receive a threatening phone call demanding money, hang up immediately

• Do not disclose any personal details to the caller

• Do not make any payments to the caller, either via phone, internet or cash.

• Do not reveal any account details, i.e. PIN numbers or account names or numbers

• Contact police immediately to report the incident.