An initiative to combat online scams is being trialled by the Queensland Police Service via its website. The portal will give fraud and scam victims the chance to report their case to the Ghana police or the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
It will also provide information on fraud and scams, as well as how to protect yourself.
It will be co-launched with the Nigerian High Commission next month, says Queensland police Detective Superintendent Brian Hay. Internet fraud and scams come in many guises, preying mainly on lonely hearts and businesses that can be easily fooled into sending cash to places such as Nigeria.
According to Hay, these types of money-hungry scams derive mostly from parts of western Africa, predominantly Nigeria and Ghana.
“It will make the process far more efficient and give people instant connectivity, which is something they would have struggled with in the past,” he says.
“We would like to expand that to the rest of the countries in Africa and other places globally, so that people can go onto one spot in Australia. It’s a long-term process, which we’re looking to make far simpler and efficient.”
Hay was awarded recently for his efforts in educating the public on cyber crime and online fraud. He played an instrumental part in investigating the Nigerian advance-fee fraud scam, which had cost vulnerable Australians $36 million a year.
Hay also leads the Queensland Fraud and Corporate Crime Group, which embarked on initiatives aimed at preventing and reporting cyber crime. As part of a collaborative effort with Western Union, it developed a fraud prevention early-warning system that indicates when money is sent to high-risk countries.
“We’re doing a whole lot of new research at the moment,” Hay says.
“In the early stages, we’re having some wins. Some of those investment and inheritance scams are reducing but the big problem that we’ve got now is we’ve seen a 100 per cent increase in romance and relationship scams. It’s just gone through the roof.”
Hay says investigating new scams requires a new approach.
“We’re trying to look at what drives people, what traps them and what age groups are more susceptible,” he says. “It’s very sad when you see these victims of romance scams. It’s just amazing how much more money is still going to countries like Nigeria and it’s being driven at the moment by relationship fraud.”
The police service plans to host an identity crime symposium on the Gold Coast in October.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald