These days the rise of modern technology has led to an increase in complicated fraud cases such as those involving financial fraud, cryptocurrency fraud and online fraud. Fraud crimes reported to police have become increasingly complex and some crimes have sought to sabotage entire industries using inside information.

John Silvester’s article ‘Shakedowns, blackmail and scams: Fraudsters quick to exploit soft spots in cashless economy’ published in The Age; explores how Detective Inspector Greg Bowd, the head of the Victorian Police Fraud & Extortion Squad, and his team deal with large-scale deceitful acts every day. He explains how the police and the banking sector are working together to make these fraud offences difficult to commit.

Fraud cases can range from the theft of replacement credit cards and the use of credit card skimmers to phishing schemes that target vulnerable populations such as the elderly. Some fraud schemes on large corporations can be constituted as white-collar crimes that require the expertise of white-collar crime lawyers. Clive Peeters is an example of an electronic retailer that collapsed after a case of white-collar fraud being committed by a senior accountant at the company.

There can be serious and devastating impacts on fraud victims. Stories of debilitating financial impacts and substantial emotional responses that follow fraud crimes can be acknowledged by courts when sentencing offenders.

Investigations of fraud crimes in Australia have involved overseas police and government investigators before. In 2017-2018, Chinese students in Victoria were extorted more than $6 million after the fraudsters told them that the Chinese government were investigating them for crimes. With the assistance of Chinese police, up to 1000 suspects were identified.

How to Protect Yourself

Although using credit cards and making electronic payments may be convenient and is thought to be safer than paying with cash, the rise of fraud in an increasingly cashless economy indicates otherwise. Covering your hand when entering your PIN at ATMs, not sharing your passwords with anyone and ensuring the websites you access have HTTPS in their addresses are ways of protecting yourself from crimes such as financial crimes, invoice fraud or cybercrimes. Checking emails for spelling and grammar mistakes and the legitimacy of email addresses are ways of verifying the validity of emails you receive. Making sure to ask someone for a second opinion on the legitimacy of any calls or emails or documents that could be a scam is also an option.

If you believe you have fallen victim to fraud, do not hesitate to contact the experienced fraud investigators and specialist fraud lawyers at Duxton Hill for advice immediately. Our team of specialised lawyers here in Melbourne are dedicated to helping victims of fraud and those accused of fraud to understand the variety of claims or defences available. Our team consists of criminal defence lawyers, asset protection lawyers and cyber crime lawyers that help our clients with achieving positive outcomes.