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Sydney man jailed over $100k SMS phishing scam

Sydney Local Court has sentenced a 40-year-old Sydney man to a two-year, eight-month stint in prison over an SMS phishing scam that began in 2018.

user icon David Hollingworth
Tue, 24 Jan 2023
Sydney man jailed over $100k SMS phishing scam
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The man had created a number of fake websites for the National Australia Bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Telstra. He then contacted customers via SMS and tricked them into supplying personal information, which he in turn used to access their own bank and telephone accounts, and to create new accounts in their name.

The NSW Police Cybercrime Squad, working with the AFP, arrested the man on 24 November 2021 after working with the banks and Telstra to identify his victims. Also found on the premises were SIM cards, mobile phones, drug paraphernalia, bank cards, and a range of other electronic devices, all of which were seized by police.

The AFP reports that the man had scammed over $100,000 out of 39 victims, while the companies affected were able to place tighter security on other affected account holders, protecting a further 16,147 account holders.

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Last Friday, the man was found guilty of four separate offences regarding obtaining benefit by deception, unauthorised access with intent, and obtaining data with intent. The perpetrator will also be subject to a 13-month good behaviour bond and a $1,000 recognisance bond on release.

“The AFP is committed to tracking down cyber criminals and bringing them to justice, no matter where they are in the world,” said AFP spokesperson Commander Chris Goldsmid.

“Scammers will use any tools they can to exploit people for their own profit. The internet and other new technologies provide opportunities to remotely access potential victims.”

Despite law enforcement’s constant urging that victims are far less likely to recover lost funds if they remain silent, a report released by internet security company Avast in 2022 suggests that almost half of the 37 per cent of Australians impacted by phishing fail to report it.

“Reporting phishing scams that you encounter is critical to ensure we keep our digital world as safe as possible,” Stephen Kho, a cyber security specialist for Avast, said in the report.

“Even if you aren’t personally affected by the scam in a significant way, you could be helping to protect the next target from falling victim.”

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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