Scam hit squad targets fraudsters stealing millions

An investment scam unit has been set up to combat swindles targeting Australians.

An investment scam unit has been set up to combat swindles targeting Australians. Photo: TND

The first specialist unit made up of experts from government, law enforcement and the private sector has been unleashed on scammers to stop people from losing their money.

The so-called “fusion cell” will be co-ordinated by a new National Anti-Scam Centre and identify ways to disrupt investment scams and minimise scam losses.

Investment cons are responsible for around half of the $1 billion in total scam losses suffered by Australians each year.

The investment scam unit will operate for six months initially and report to the anti-scam centre launched by Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones in Melbourne on Monday.

It will be led by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and include representatives from the banks, telecommunications industry and digital platforms.

ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said investment swindles are the most reported scams and cause emotional devastation for victims.

“This additional level of co-ordination and focus across government and relevant industries will target investment scam activity more effectively and help prevent further losses to these scams,” Ms Lowe said.

ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said the corporate watchdog looked forward to working with the anti-scam centre.

“A collaborative approach that sees regulators working with each other, as well as with the private sector, is crucial to addressing this challenge,” she said.

Australians individually lose an average of $82,000 to investment scams.

“There is a scamdemic,” Mr Jones said.

“No one is safe.

“The top priority of our new national anti-scams centre is to detect and disrupt scammers before they can reach Australians.”

Fusion cells are taskforces designed to bring together expertise from the government and the private sectors to address specific, urgent problems.

The anti-scam centre, announced by the federal government in May, became operational on July 1.


Topics: scams
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