Consumer electronic goods including notebooks, Samsung TVs, Apple gear and various Smartphones purchased from mass retailers including Harvey Norman, JB Hi Fi, Dick Smith and Myer have been seized by a joint Federal, State task force who yesterday announced that they had smashed a major fraud syndicate.
The goods worth over $1 million dollars were purchased using fake credit cards primarily in Sydney and Adelaide during the past 18 months.Five men were arrested and charged with various fraud offences.
It is not known who takes responsibility for compensating the retailers as in many cases the alleged thieves created fake identities. Police allege the men skimmed people’s credit cards to get the details and manufacture thousands of counterfeit cards.
Col Dyson from the NSW Police Fraud Squad says it is a burgeoning area of crime.
“We do have criminal groups that have moved from other criminal activities into identity crime,” he said.
“We know that they realise now that this is a lucrative crime for them and they’ve either moved out of their more traditional crimes into this or they’re supplementing their other criminal activities by engaging in identity crime.”
Two of the five men, 40-year-old Fadi Salami and 33-year-old Hussein Mourad appeared in Central Local Court today. They were refused bail and will be back in court next week.
A 52-year-old Hammondville man was given bail to appear in court at a later date, while two Sydney men, aged 40 and 52, were arrested in Adelaide.
The men are facing a range of Commonwealth and state offences.
A police officer involved in the operation told ChannelNews that they suspect other gangs are operating and that consumer electronics retailers are a prime target to be defrauded because of the “appeal of the goods they sell”.