News and Analysis

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Economist slams bitcoin as ‘mother of all scams’ – 16 October 2018

An economist has slammed bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as “the mother of all scams”. Bitcoin has lost about two thirds of its value since peaking at $US20,000 in December, with the digital currency hovering around $US6000 for most of 2018. Many people scammed into thinking they were going to make money now part of a potential financial crisis.

New Zealand tops list of most-scammed countries – Microsoft – 16 October 2018

New Zealanders are the most likely people in the world to have experienced a tech support scam, according to a new study from Microsoft. Young male New Zealanders are especially susceptible to losing money from tech support scams, thanks to a tendency towards risky behaviour and overconfidence in their technical abilities.

Prison escapee John Killick in court over fraud related to rug and chess set – 11 October 2018

John Killick, the 76-year-old, who escaped from Silverwater jail in 1999 and was released on parole more than 15 years later, is charged with three offences including knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime. Killick is allegedly the sixth member of a fraud syndicate who fraudulently obtained loans to finance high-end household items and withdraw more than $250,000 cash hidden in a Sydney bank vault.

Man who sold bank accounts to Russian hackers sentenced – 11 October 2018

A California man who says he unwittingly helped Russia conduct a disinformation campaign on social media, before the 2016 US presidential election, has been sentenced to six months in prison and another six months of home confinement, after pleading guilty to a single count of identity fraud earlier this year. He admitted  to sell bank account numbers so his clients could circumvent security features on electronic payment services including PayPal. Since then, he’s been cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the election and has turned over business records and testified before a grand jury.

South Africa should seek damages from KPMG over bank graft: central bank probe – 10 October 2018

South Africa should seek damages from global auditor KPMG for the role it played in a corruption scandal that saw at least R1.9 billion ($130 million) stolen from local bank VBS, a central bank investigation published on Wednesday said. The probe, carried out by a team of lawyers and forensic investigators on behalf of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), is the latest headache for KPMG, which has lost more than a dozen clients as questions have been raised about its ethical conduct in the country.

Gumtree scammers tricking victims with fake online banking receipts, police warn – 9 October 2018

A middle-aged Queensland man with a history in criminal investigation, says falling victim to an online scam is a reminder that anyone can be targeted. He handed over a diagnostic mechanics tool that retails for about $13,000, but did not receive the money for the sale. Scammers offer to transfer the money by electronic bank transfer, before sending a photograph of a fake receipt and a copy of a fraudulently obtained driver’s licence. After sending the fake documents, the scammers insist on sending a third party, usually a legitimate parcel delivery service, to collect the items from the seller before they realise the funds have not been transferred.

Swiss bank UBS on trial in France over tax fraud claims – 8 October 2018

The Swiss banking giant UBS goes on trial to face accusations it orchestrated a huge tax fraud scheme for wealthy French clients, with potential fines of billions of euros. The inquiry was opened after a former employee alerted authorities over the bank’s alleged system of setting up dual bookkeeping to hide the movement of capital into Switzerland. France’s national financial crimes unit estimates at least 9.76 billion euros ($11.2 billion) was not reported to the French tax authorities.–spt.html

Fourth former NAB banker banned over alleged home loan fraud ring – 8 October 2018

A fourth former NAB employee (Mathew Alwan), has been banned from working in financial services, for his part in an alleged fraud ring that abused the bank’s “introducer” home loan referral program. ASIC is now considering whether to refer a brief for criminal charges to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

China inserted surveillance microchip in servers used by Amazon, Apple: report – 5 October 2018

China secretly inserted surveillance microchips into servers used by major technology companies, including Apple and US officials long have worried about the potential for altered microchips or other components to be secretly inserted into products and shipped to the United States and elsewhere, opening doors to long-term spying on computer users and their information networks.

Cryptocurrency exchanges must now fully comply with the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws in Australia – 5 October 2018

Those operating a cryptocurrency/digital currency exchange (DCE) which exchanges fiat (Australian or foreign currency) for digital currency and/or vice versa, have obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act). A policy principle period was declared to allow DCEs time to comply with their new obligations under the regime. From 2nd October 2018 DCE providers must now be fully compliant with their obligations under the AML/CTF legislation.

Indigenous leader and family members face court on fraud charges worth more than $650,000 – 5 October 2018

Indigenous leader Geoff Clark and three of his family members faced court on a total of 86 fraud-related charges between them for the purposes of paying Mr Clarks legal fees. They have been accused of dishonestly obtaining around $685,000 from Framlingham Aboriginal Trust, the Maar Land Council, Brambuck/Gariwerd Enterprises, and Kirrae Whurrong Community Incorporated.

ABC board hires investigator to examine explosive Michelle Guthrie claims – 4 October 2018

The ABC board has hired an investigator to examine explosive claims made by former ABC managing director, Michelle Guthrie in the weeks leading up to her removal. Several of those allegations, including political interference and inappropriate conduct by former chairman Justin Milne.

Insurers use private investigators as ‘last resort’ – 4 October 2018

Insurers have moved to defend the use of private investigators, saying they are necessary for the detection of fraud and they have tightened the industry code to prevent the misuse of surveillance.

AIPI was asked to comment and we noted that members need to comply with legal requirements in the jurisdiction in which they operate. They should be independent, not advocate for either party in an investigation and provide unbiased information to their clients, whether insurance companies or others, in order that the client make an informed decision on the claim or allegation that has been made.

How can Australian merchants turn the tide on CNP fraud? – 2 October 2018

A staggering $476 million has been lost to fraud by Australian merchants over the last 12 months, thanks to the deployment  of “card not present” (CNP) fraud on eCommerce channels. This includes methods like identity theft, account takeover data breaches and bust-out scams. CNP fraud can have a huge impact on a business, putting their profit margins and long-term reputation on the line.

Australia’s surveillance laws could damage internet security globally, overseas critics say – 2 October 2018

Australia’s new technology surveillance laws are drawing increasing scrutiny from international privacy groups and technology companies such as Apple and Microsoft. Crimes, smartphone applications and data can cross borders thanks to the internet, and the proposed legislation is part of a push to allow authorities greater access to suspects’ secure messages. The bill proposes three new powers.

‘Unacceptable’: ASIC slams banks’ delays in finding, fixing breaches – 25 September 2018

The Corporate regulator ASIC, says it is considering criminal prosecutions against financial institutions over “serious” and “acceptable” delays in finding, reporting and correcting law breaches, that cost 5 million consumers almost $500 million between 2014 and 2017.  In some cases it  took more than five years, on average, from the actual incident to compensate customers.

Serial conman Eddie Kang up to old tricks ripping off vulnerable students – 21 September 2018

One of Australia’s most notorious scam artists is continuing to run a business that rips off vulnerable students while he is out on bail appealing his conviction and sentence. Eddie Kang was sentenced to 12 months in prison in March 2017 after he was convicted of 22 counts of fraud and misleading conduct involving 11 foreign students who paid his companies to secure 457 visas.

Plans are underway for a cryptocurrency ‘stable coin’ pegged to the Aussie dollar – 21 September 2018

The latest innovation in the fast-moving world of cryptocurrencies is the “stablecoin” – cryptocurrencies pegged to fiat currencies – in this case the Australian dollar.

Emparta has been talking to regulators and the partners plan to launch the coin in 2019.

The latest innovation in the fast-moving world of cryptocurrencies is the “stablecoin” – cryptocurrencies pegged to fiat currencies – in this case the Australian dollar. Emparta has been talking to regulators and the partners plan to launch the coin in 2019