Teen Optus scammer pleads guilty to blackmail

Man arrested over alleged Optus text scam

An unemployed NSW teenager has pleaded guilty to trying to blackmail Optus customers affected by its September data breach.

Dennis Su, 19, texted 93 Optus customers, demanding they transfer $2000 to a Commonwealth bank account “or face their personal information being used for financial crimes”.

Mr Su downloaded the personal details from a website that shared breached data, telling police he was having a difficult time as he was unemployed and wanted to make some “quick money”.

No one ever transferred the money. However, according to the agreed facts of the case, one person responded with an emoji.

Mr Su then returned to the data-sharing website and gathered more information about the would-be victim to “prove his credibility” – including the person’s full name.

The would-be victim responded to further inquiries with: “The police have your details, and I have nothing you can gain so good luck.”

The teenager then deleted all the messages before being arrested on October 6.

Mr Su pleaded guilty to two counts of using equipment connected to a network to commit a serious offence on Tuesday in Downing Centre Local Court.

Magistrate Susan Horan said a sentencing assessment report was required before the case could be finalised. She noted Ms Su faced up to 10 years in jail.

On Tuesday, his lawyers submitted a letter of apology from the teenager as well as character references from two counsellors he has been seeing since the charges were laid.

Mr Su is not alleged to be involved in the Optus hack, which exposed the personal details of 10 million Optus customers in a data breach in September. Stolen information included customers’ passport, licence and Medicare numbers.

The Australian Federal Police is running two inquiries into who obtained and attempted to sell the Optus data, and protections for more than 10,000 customers who had their records posted online.

The consumer watchdog has been flooded with Optus-related scam complaints following the data breach.

Mr Su is out on bail and is set to face a sentencing hearing on February 7.

-with AAP
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