A Man From Sydney Has Been Charged Over an SMS Phishing Scam

A Man From Sydney Has Been Charged Over an SMS Phishing Scam
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A man from Sydney has been charged for stealing around $100,000 in an illegal SMS phishing scam, the AFP says. It’s alleged the cash was obtained from the banks and telco accounts of more than 450 victims.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) on Monday said the 38-year-old man from Sydney was arrested on Wednesday, where he was charged over the phishing scam and refused bail.

According to the AFP, the investigation began in September 2021, when the AFP obtained information about suspicious website registrations suspected of being used to phish customers of Australian telecommunications providers and financial institutions.

When the man faces court in January, it will be alleged he used these webpages to lure Australian victims to enter their personal information, which he would subsequently use to access their telephone accounts, bank accounts and create new accounts without their knowledge.

Investigators have so far allegedly linked the man to more than $100,000 taken from the accounts of 450 people. Enquiries are continuing to determine the full extent of this fraud, however.

Police will allege this particular scam started in 2018 and targeted customers of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Telstra, among others.

The AFP said it has worked with the two banks and Telstra, seeing the companies place additional security protocols on affected account holders. The AFP said they have also helped prevent more than $4 million from being stolen from the accounts of another 16,000 people.

The AFP said two search warrants were executed. The first, concerning the 38-year-old man, saw law enforcement seize drug paraphernalia, multiple sim cards, bank cards, electronic devices, mobile telephones and storage devices. The second search warrant involved a 36-year-old man, who was charged with “dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception and possess identification information to commit, facilitate commission of an indictable offence”.

The 38-year-old man has been charged by the AFP with: unauthorised access, modification or impairment with intent to commit a serious offence; producing, supplying or obtaining data with intent to commit a computer offence and deal in proceeds of crime worth $100,000 or more.

“The maximum penalty for these offences is three years’ imprisonment, three years’ imprisonment and 20 years’ imprisonment, respectively,” AFP wrote.