Foreign crime gang targets Queenslanders

A foreign crime organisation is targeting cashed-up people in Queensland, armed with knowledge of their annual salaries and personal details.

A senior fraud police officer said this week the criminal cell was using information they bought over the internet from marketing companies.

The information is used to identify individuals who are then conned into sending money to a fraudulent offshore investment scheme.

Fraud and Corporate Crime Detective Superintendent Brian Hay said 66 Queenslanders had been caught out already with more than $1.4 million stolen.

“We believe they are targeting specific people – they are targeting people that they believe have wealth, that have recently accessed their super funds and people over 45 years,” Supt Hay said.

The marketing companies were not breaking any laws selling personal details and this was a case of technology moving too fast for the law.

The criminal operations are known as “boiler rooms” – a room of telephone operators calling unsuspecting potential investors.

Operators offer deals too good to refuse and investors sometimes do not find out it is a scam for many years.

“They (the group) are extremely well organised, they take on multiple company identities in a very sophisticated set up,” Supt Hay said.

“They have multiple websites, they will post false information on free media websites and pay for google ads to increase google exposure so that when people do research they may find very glowing reports.”

He said it was likely more Queenslanders had been affected and may not yet know it.

“Absolutely most of these people haven’t come forward. It’s a case of us contacting them and letting them know what’s happened.

“It’s a national problem not just a Queensland one. South Australian police actually identified it first and they have done a brilliant job identifying it and alerting everyone else.”

Anyone with information which could assist police with their investigations should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or 24hrs a day.

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