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New financial crime guide warns the finance sector and Australians about ‘cuckoo smurfing’

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cuckoo smurfing

New financial crime guide warns the finance sector and Australians about ‘cuckoo smurfing’

AUSTRAC has released a new financial crime guide to warn businesses and their customers about the dangers of a money laundering method known as ‘cuckoo smurfing’.

Criminals use the ‘cuckoo smurfing’ method to move illegal funds into Australia and to disguise the profits of their criminal activities. It generally relies on exploiting the legitimate bank accounts of individuals and businesses here in Australia. The Australian account holder will commonly be expecting genuine funds to be deposited into their account from a friend, relative or business partner overseas.

Often these recipients are unaware that the funds transferred into their accounts have in fact come from criminals using funds generated from drug dealing and other serious criminal activities. The ‘cuckoo smurfing’ financial crime guide helps businesses know what to look for and when to report to AUSTRAC. At the same time new educational materials developed by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in collaboration with AUSTRAC are also available for the public on how to spot and protect themselves from cuckoo smurfing.

AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose PSM, said if businesses identify behaviour that indicates potential cuckoo smurfing, they must report it to AUSTRAC so together we can disrupt criminal syndicates targeting the bank accounts of Australians. “This method has been used by criminal syndicates involved in crimes that inflict serious harm on our community such as drug trafficking, slavery, fraud and corruption. We rely on financial businesses to report to AUSTRAC and partner with enforcement to stop these criminal syndicates and protect members of the Australian community.”

Money transfer businesses, banks and financial institutions should monitor for indicators of potential criminal activity including cash deposits appearing inconsistent with expected transaction activity of an account holder, cash deposits conducted on the same day across multiple branches and ATMs and multiple cash deposits predominately in amounts under $10,000. Members of the Australian public expecting to receive funds from overseas, should review their bank account activity and report any unexpected and suspicious transactions. Any individual or company can be targeted, some of the most at risk customers include Australian expatriates, Australian exporters and international students studying in Australia.

If members of the public notice any suspicious activity occurring in their bank account, including the warning signs above, they should immediately report it to their bank in the first instance, or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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BUSINESS EVENTS TURBOCHARGED ACROSS NSW

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BUSINESS EVENTS TURBOCHARGED ACROSS NSW

BUSINESS EVENTS TURBOCHARGED ACROSS NSW

A total of 27 business events across NSW will receive grants of up to $30,000, helping to turbocharge local economies and create more jobs across the State.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said while it has been incredibly tough for the business events sector, now was the time to rebuild business confidence and kick-start momentum across the industry.
“From Ballina and Coffs Harbour to Bathurst, and the Murray, the events will be staged across various corners of regional NSW, hosting more than 35,000 delegates in our State,” Mr Ayres said.
“These grants will not only support event managers and venues, but it will have huge flow-on effects and will help to boost the entire supply chain, putting more dollars into the pockets of local businesspeople and creating jobs.”
Mr Ayres said the opening of the $500,000 NSW Regional Business Event Development Fund in February could not have come at a better time, as the return of more face-to-face events ramps up.
“There’s a strong appetite among NSW businesses to get back to hosting and attending face-to-face events. People have a strong desire to build business connections in-person, while still taking advantage of virtual events,” Mr Ayres said.
“I congratulate the business event recipients for their contributions to growing the NSW visitor economy, and we look forward to welcoming delegates to the fantastic destinations and venues across regional NSW.”
Managed by Destination NSW, the NSW Regional Business Event Development Fund offers matched dollar-for-dollar funding of grants up to $30,000, and is designed to assist stakeholders create and attract business events for regional NSW while also supporting new business event initiatives.

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Payment redirection scams cost Australian businesses $128 million in 2020

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Payment redirection scams cost Australian businesses $128 million in 2020

Payment redirection scams cost Australian businesses $128 million in 2020

Payment redirection scams were the most financially damaging scams for Australian businesses in 2020 according to the ACCC’s latest Targeting Scams report. Combined losses reported to Scamwatch, other government agencies, banks and payment platforms totalled $128 million in 2020.
Reports to Scamwatch show that Australian businesses lost $18 million to scams in 2020, a 260 per cent increase on losses reported in 2019.
“Small and micro businesses made most of the reports to Scamwatch and experienced an increase in losses in 2020, although larger businesses reported the highest losses,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
Based on Scamwatch data alone, false billing scams were the most commonly reported scam by businesses and accounted for three quarters of total losses to businesses. Small and micro businesses accounted for almost 60 per cent of these false billing reports.
There are a range of false billing scams, but the most common type was payment redirection scams, also known as business email compromise (BEC) scams, with 1,300 reports and $14 million in losses. This is a substantial increase from the 900 reports and $5 million in losses reported in 2019.
In a payment redirection scam, scammers impersonate a business or its employees via email and request an upcoming payment be redirected to a fraudulent account.
Scamwatch also observed a new type of scam in 2020 that targeted farmers looking for a good deal on tractors and farm machinery. Scammers advertised equipment at prices well below market value, and told farmers that they couldn’t view the tractors prior to purchase due to government restrictions from the pandemic. Farmers made payments to secure these special deals, when in reality the equipment never existed. Farmers were conned out of $1.1 million in these scams.
“One thing we know about scammers is that they will take advantage of a crisis,” Mr Keogh said.
Businesses were also targeted by health and medical scams in 2020. About half of the $3.9 million in total losses reported to health and medical scams were from businesses, as they attempted to procure personal protective equipment for their staff to comply with government guidelines during the pandemic.
Other scam types that impacted businesses throughout the year included phishing, identity theft and hacking scams.
“It is so important for businesses to stay informed about scams so they can protect themselves,” Mr Keogh said.
“The ACCC provides a range of resources for businesses on how to avoid scams on the Scamwatch website and in our media releases throughout the year.”
Businesses that have been scammed should contact their bank as soon as possible. If the scam occurred on a platform such as Facebook, contact them directly to report it.
Businesses can also report a scam to ReportCyber, which is run by the Australian Cyber Security Centre and passes reports to law enforcement agencies for assessment and intelligence purposes.
The Small Business Information Network also provides details about new or updated resources, enforcement action, changes to Australia’s competition and consumer laws, events, surveys and scams relevant to the small business sector.

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The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49

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The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49_Page_01
The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49

The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49

The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49 is out today as usual it is available from all Newsagents, leading Service Stations, General Stores and Woolworths Supermarkets from Coffs Harbour to Southport and as far west as Tenterfield, every town in the northern rivers. A very full 80 pages to read on these rainy and cold days ahead with over 32 pages of local news, 4 page lift out TV Guide, 2 pages of puzzles, 7-8 pages of local sports, 7 page of Rural news, 4 pages of Local Entertainment, trades and professional services, funerals, community news and events and a special 7 Pages on Lismore’s the Star Court Theatre 100 year Anniversary. This is a brilliant edition and all of our readers will absolutely love it from page 1 to page 80. Only $2. But HURRY as last weeks edition 48 sold out all copies within 3 days.

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