Cybercrime Squad detectives have arrested a man as part of a one-year investigation into a sophisticated mobile phone scam.
A 49-year-old Clayton man was arrested in Tullamarine about 6.30pm last night.
He was charged with three counts of conspiracy to cheat and defraud and bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 21 September, 2021.
Detectives also seized a number of phones and electronic devices.
Five other men have already been charged in conjunction with scam:
A 35-year-old Maidstone man was charged with conspiracy to cheat and defraud, and theft.
A 35-year-old Keysborough man was charged with conspiracy to cheat and defraud, and theft.
Both will appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 20 September, 2021.
A 25-year-old Springvale South man was charged with conspiracy to cheat and defraud, and theft.
He will appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 22 September, 2021.
A 24-year-old Box Hill man was charged with conspiracy to cheat and defraud, and handle stolen goods.
A 32-year-old Clayton man was charged with conspiracy to cheat and defraud, and handle stolen goods.
Both will face Melbourne County Court on 25 January, 2022.
The sophisticated scam, which allegedly involved phones being sent to Dubai, targeted victims via fraudulent call centres, offering cheaper deals on their existing phone plans or highly discounted phone upgrades.
Victims received a phone call from a call centre purporting to be their telco provider and were asked to provide card details in exchange for a discounted phone plan or to agree to a phone upgrade to be delivered to them.
It will be alleged that the phones were then intercepted and exported out of the country to be on-sold.
Victoria Police worked closely with Australian Border Force, Australia Post, Toll, TPG Telecom and Telstra as part of this investigation.
Quotes attributable to Detective Inspector Boris Buick, Cybercrime Squad:
‘These criminals continue to prey on our community, skilfully impersonating large telecommunications companies, capitalising on the pandemic and exploiting Australians for their own financial gain.
‘This is a great result today and we thank ABF, Australia Post and the telecommunications companies for their support in getting this outcome.
‘The sum of money the offenders would have made from this operation is significant. Potentially thousands of Australians have been victim to this scam, and we make no apologies for taking swift action to disrupt and hold those responsible to account.’
Scamwatch advises consumers never to provide your personal, credit card or online account details if you receive a call claiming to be from your telecommunications provider or any other organisation. Instead, ask for their name and contact number and make an independent check with the organisation in question before calling back.
If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately and report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. There is also guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help.
Anyone with information about similar incidents can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au
Note: The Cybercrime Squad was formerly known as the E-Crime Squad.