By Jason Bryce
Police have been warning Australians almost daily throughout 2020 about Tap and Go and payWave card fraud. Petty criminals, sometimes violent, are targeting cars, handbags and homes, stealing contactless credit and debit cards and going on spending sprees.
Criminals can now spend $200 per transaction without a PIN on stolen cards, creating an irresistible honeypot, an all-to-easy target for unscrupulous criminals and desperate poor people.
But now there is a whole new scam and it’s so easy that it’s scary. So easy that we learnt how to do it in five minutes flat, thanks to Google.
Police are warning everyone who buys and sells on Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and other online platforms, or even in an actual marketplace, face to face, not to just accept that a presented online payments transaction receipt is genuine.
In Victoria, Police detectives from Casey CIU posted a picture and warning about a frightening deception which occurred in Clyde on 3 April.
“The victim sold her phone via an online marketplace and was contacted by the buyer to arrange collection of the item,” said Police spokesperson.
“The buyer attended her address, showed her a fraudulent bank transfer and took the phone.”
In Adelaide, people who buy and sell their cars online are being left without a car and without any money, say police.
“With the right software you can fake a receipt, you can fake an email, you can fake a bank statement,” said NAB Fraud Investigator Chris Sheehan on Channel 7 News Adelaide.
Police reported fourteen cases of this type of scam across Adelaide, said Channel 7 on 28 August.
“If you haven’t got the cash, then they shouldn’t have the car,” said Mark Borlace from the RAA.
But I have done that before. I have accepted that someone has given me money because they flashed their phone at me and showed me what looked like a receipt. I have accepted a flashed phone receipt as evidence of payment many times.
“I have accepted a flashed phone receipt as evidence of payment ….”
This is called “classified fraud,” say South Australian Police. Here is a step-by-step of how it is done, and no, the bank does not give you the money back in this type of scam:
In August 2020, Dave from Salisbury listed his car on Gumtree for sale for $13,500. Dave was contacted by someone interested in purchasing the car. They agreed a price of $13,000 and the ‘buyer’ attended Dave’s address to look at the car.
‘Classifieds Fraud’ scam comes in two forms say SA Police.
The first, most common Classifieds Fraud is not getting items you have paid for.
The second type is the opposite - the victim is selling and the scammer shows a fake receipt to take the goods without paying.
This could be a bank app receipt or a PayPal receipt say Police.
But aren’t digital payments supposed to be foolproof? Secure and reliable? How easy is it to create a fake online payment receipt that looks good enough to fool someone into handing over valuable goods, like a phone, to a complete stranger?
Five seconds on Google and I had an idea why the police are warning Australians about this whole new brand of payment fraud.
In five minutes flat today, I learnt how to create a fake payment receipt apparently good enough to fool someone into handing over goods or services. There are hundreds of websites that are itching to help you create a fake online payment receipt for any Australian bank, credit union or other deposit-taking institution.
I found so many fake online transfer receipts I now want to go back and check some instances I have accepted a flashed phone receipt as payment.
Online classifieds, networking and job websites are being used by online scammers to recruit sometimes unwitting “money mules” say New Zealand Police.
Bronwyn Groot, Fraud Education Manager at New Zealand’s Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) says a money mule transfers illegally acquired money on behalf of a criminal, making it difficult for police to track.
Unwitting money mules may be involved in an online scam romance or fake online job and trust their contact when asked to use their bank account to transfer funds.
“Mules are often shocked to discover they may be charged with money laundering and face imprisonment of up to seven years,” said Bronwyn Groot.
“Many online scams involve asking the victim to receive money to ‘look after’ and then transfer it to another account, usually offshore,” says Groot.
“People of all ages and from all walks of life can become mules,” says Groot. “Students, new migrants, business owners, retirees, you name it. Scammers target them through online job websites, dating and social networking websites and online classifieds.
Small business owner Jenny Nguyen from Footscray has decided to go cash-only in her florist.
Australia must mandate cash transactions under $10,000