Inside the squalid apartment where two men allegedly carried out a sophisticated ‘smishing’ scam to steal identities and money from thousands of Australians

  • Two men have been arrested for allegedly being part of a text message scam 
  • Officers raided two homes in Macquarie Park and Burwood, NSW, on Tuesday
  • They seized SIM cards, nine SIM boxes, phones, laptops and hard drives  
  • SIM boxes were allegedly used to send texts claimingto be from banks 
  • A bank revealed one of their customers was allegedly scammed out of $30,000

Two men have been arrested for allegedly being part of a text message scam that steals Australian’s identities and their money.

Officers raided two homes in Macquarie Park and Burwood, NSW, on Tuesday, where they seized hundreds of SIM cards, nine SIM boxes, phones, laptops and hard drives. 

Fake ID documents, drugs, drug paraphernalia, a money counter and cash was also allegedly discovered. 

The SIM boxes were allegedly used to send text messages that claimed to be from banks or telecommunications companies and asked for personal or financial information.

This is known as a smishing scam. 

Two men have been arrested for allegedly being part of a text message scam that steals Australian's identities and their money

Two men have been arrested for allegedly being part of a text message scam that steals Australian’s identities and their money

Police will allege the men had direct access to and control of the SMS boxes, which sent more than 10,000 messages in two weeks.

In one instance, a person allegedly lost $30,000 after 45 customers from one bank were targeted. 

One telecommunications provider found 49,000 texts made to their customers in one week.

The Australian Federal Police worked with organisations such as Westpac, the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and TPG Telecom.  

The 50-year-old man from Macquarie Park was charged with eight counts of false or misleading information, one count of using a telecommunications network with intent to commit serious offence and one count of drug possession.

He was also charged with dealing in identification information using a carriage service,  honestly obtaining or dealing in financial information and dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime.

Officers raided two homes in Macquarie Park and Burwood, NSW, on Tuesday, where they seized hundreds of SIM cards, nine SIM boxes, phones, laptops and hard drives

Officers raided two homes in Macquarie Park and Burwood, NSW, on Tuesday, where they seized hundreds of SIM cards, nine SIM boxes, phones, laptops and hard drives

The SIM boxes were allegedly used to send test messages that claimed to be from banks or telecommunications companies and asked for personal or financial information

The SIM boxes were allegedly used to send test messages that claimed to be from banks or telecommunications companies and asked for personal or financial information

The 30-year-old is expected to face similar charges.   

Chris Goldsmid, AFP Commander Cybercrime Operations, said: ‘This fraud syndicate had absolutely no regard for the hardworking Australians they stole from, victims who may be struggling since the bushfires and COVID-19 hit the nation.’

Detective Superintendent Matthew Craft, Commander from NSW Police’s Cybercrime squad, said offenders are adapting to technology to stop them.  

‘These types of scams become somewhat redundant when the community heeds the advice to never provide confidential personal information to people you don’t know and can’t identify,’ he said.

Legitimate businesses will never call or SMS customers seeking confidential information. Always be suspicious when you receive such requests.’ 

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