NSW Police yesterday raided homes and arrested five men in connection with an international EFTPOS-based skimming and fraud ring.
The five men aged between 25 and 45 were arrested in Sydney as part of what the police are alleging is a high-tech, international syndicate of financial fraudsters.
Police believe that the men arrested were working for the syndicate in Australia, which also has connections to Europe and the United States.
The five men are set to face Parramatta Local Court today, charged with an array of offences including conspiracy to cheat and defraud, possessing equipment to make identification documents, dealing with identification information and possession of false or misleading documents.
Police Strike Force Wigg, set up in 2008 to investigate EFTPOS skimming in the state, also executed search warrants across Sydney yesterday and discovered a bevy of electronic fraud equipment including EFTPOS terminals, PIN underlay, laptops and mobile phones. Police also seized fake travel documents, international credit cards and a sum of cash to the tune of $10,000.
Strike Force Wigg has racked up 25 arrests for EFTPOS fraud in NSW since 2008, seizing over 50 EFTPOS terminals and approximately 18,000 fake or blank transaction cards.
While the arrests are encouraging, police continued to encourage EFTPOS users to remain vigilant when using their cards.
Commander detective superintendent Colin Dyson said today that "the NSW Police Force is committed to targeting fraud-related crime and today's operation has resulted in the significantly disruption of an alleged international syndicate".
"The public are reminded, however, of the need to be vigilant when using their credit and debit cards, and when making EFTPOS transactions," Dyson added.
Dyson said several months ago at a security conference that some European criminals regard Australia as an easy target for card fraud, due to the fact that banks haven't deployed extensive chip card integration into ATMs.
"Romanian crooks have told us Australia is the laughing stock of the world because of the technology in the banks," Dyson said.