AUSTRAC, Services Australia team to unveil financial crime guide

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has teamed with government agency Services Australia to launch a financial crime guide.

According to AUSTRAC, the new guide will help financial services businesses detect and report suspicious transactions indicative of fraud and misuse of emergency and disaster payments administered through Services Australia.

Services Australia delivered over £230bn in social support payments between 2020-2021, with around $21.5bn in disaster payments provided to people affected by Covid-19, floods, fires and cyclones. While most claimants for disaster assistance are in real need of urgent help, there are a small number of claimants and groups who try to get payments who are not entitled by committing fraud – often by identity stealing of vulnerable Australians.

With this considered, AUSTRAC and Services Australia worked together to develop the guide to help identity and disrupt those individuals and organised crime gangs looking to commit fraud against emergency or disaster relief payments.

Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen said, “We take fraud very seriously and thoroughly investigate all suspicious claim activity. Taking advantage of payments that help people get back on their feet during a disaster is a particularly low act.”

AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose added, “The misuse of taxpayer funds denies people in genuine need access to money to meet their most basic needs such as food, shelter and other necessities.”

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