Gold Coast hosts fraud and cyber crime talks

The 2016 Fraud and Cyber Crime Symposium, being held at Sanctuary Cove this week, has heard the Gold Coast has in the past been a hub for cold call investment scams, after a Paradise Point man was allegedly arrested at a boiler room on Monday.

The event has brought together law enforcement and industry stakeholders from within Australia and across the globe.  They are putting their heads together to try and figure out how best to tackle identity, financial and cyber crime, which are two of the fastest growing offences in Australia.

The theme of this year’s symposium is “Facing tomorrow’s global challenges today”, and will focus on issues including data security, cold call investment fraud, education and prevention.


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Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence (pictured) of the Fraud and Cyber Crime Group said yes the Gold Coast has been a hub for cold call scams, but this isn’t just an issue in Queensland, it’s a problem across Australia and the world.

Acting Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence. Image: Michelle Price my gc

Acting Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence. Image: Michelle Price my gc

He said “yesterday there was another person arrested for cold call investment fraud on the Gold Coast, which is a part of our ongoing campaign to make sure that we bring these offenders to justice”.

“The need for businesses to remain alert to the threat of financial, identity and cyber crime has never been more significant”.

“We receive reports every week of businesses and individuals targeted by organised crime groups and networks relentless in their pursuit of financial gain.

“We believe events such as this are an excellent opportunity to share knowledge, perspective and best practice and to help us better educate and build resilience in those vulnerable to these attacks.

Acting Detective Superintendent Lawrence said it is vital that they maintain close ties with experts overseas “because they have, being within the industry, they have that information at their fingertips and have expertise far beyond what we could ever achieve being in the QPS because of the fact they are in that space 24 hours a day seven days a week”.

“So having that relationship with them, allows us to get our fingertips on information a lot quicker and puts us in a better position then to speak to other government agencies and otherwise to really respond in a quick fashion” he added.

He also admitted that they would always be on the back foot when it comes to fraud offences, saying “to be completely honest with you, we’ll always be chasing people down, the reality is fraud in any shape or form has been around for a long long time and technology simply enables it to be done in a different fashion so we will always be attempting to catch criminals, otherwise there wouldn’t be any crime, that’s just a fact of life”.

Acting Detective Superintendent Lawrence the development also changes the kinds of skills police officers need to have, “people have to understand now it’s not just looking through a computer to find the offender on the other side and understand what they’re doing whilst they’re hidden from you by a computer screen but also in our own abilities to sit there and use the tools ourselves and, as I said, engage with the industry and understand the language they’re speaking and bring the offenders to justice.

International expert Jeff Hudson (pictured) is the Chief Executive Officer of Venafi, a cyber-security company with 270 customers now worldwide, he said “they’re all the biggest customers the five top airlines and five top  banks”.

Verafi CEO Jeff Hudson. Image: Michelle Price my gc

Verafi CEO Jeff Hudson. Image: Michelle Price my gc

He went on to explain that the ‘bad guys’ they are looking for “want to steal personal information, financial information and intellectual property”.

Mr Hudson said we all need to be on alert because if someone is a “customer of a big bank or a big retailer for example and the bad guys get in, they can steal tax records, they can steal financial records, they can steal payment records, they can steal healthcare information”.

“We know that millions of these records get stolen and then sold in the underground” he finished.

He also weighed in on the debate surrounding just how long the Australian Bureau of Statistics should be able to keep our personal information for.  With this year’s Australian census shifting online the ABS will keep names and addresses on file for four years instead of 18 months.

Mr Hudson said no one can guarantee that our personal information won’t be stolen “the bad guys are going to continually find new ways to attack, but one of the best ways to avoid data loss is to have it exist for less period of time”.

The Symposium runs until Thursday.