During the pandemic there seems to be a rise in attempted fraudulent activity, with levels of sophistication increasing. The following example was brought to our attention by an experienced member, who had the foresight and knowledge to thwart the attempt, and it was this experience that saved an unsuspecting customer of being the victim. Whilst it relates to a home loan, it exemplifies the differing scenarios being used.
The CAFBA member operates predominantly in commercial finance, however holds an ACL for accreditation purposes, and for the few NCCP regulated transactions that the business conducts each year.
One evening they received a phone call from a confused person, who was not known to the member as a client or contact of their business. This person is from Western Australia, where our member has very few clients, as they operate in an Eastern State. The person wanted to ask some questions about their staff member named David, and about a request for an upfront payment of Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). Our member advised that they did not have a staff member by this name and never ask customers for upfront payments. The caller was confused and so our member asked if he had any paperwork that he could email me so they could assist with his enquiry.
The information sent through was a very sophisticated loan approval document, with a logo purporting to be our members, but also attaching our members ACL and ABN details which were being used fraudulently. The caller had applied for a home loan online, and all his details were correct. This information was fraudulently obtained, with the correct loan amounts, property addresses etc which were used in the fraudulent loan approval.
The customer was then asked for LMI as a condition of approval, and the invoice was subsequently forwarded. Fortunately our member was able to advise the caller that he had been a victim of identity theft, and his loan information was not secure, and not to make this payment.
The additional concern for our member was that their ACL and ABN were being fraudulently used, which could have ramifications for future dealings. Our member immediately reported this to ASIC and to the police.
ASIC are running an active investigation – as they have received multiple reports of ACL impersonation.
It is most likely overseas organised crime running the scam – so very unlikely they will have any luck catching the scammers.
If a CAFBA member does become aware of this happening to them:
They should take the following steps:
In respect to the ACL being used, ASIC have noted that our member self-reported the matter against their ACL, so if they receive any complaints against this ACL they are well aware of the impersonation scam and will know that charging customers for LMI upfront is not legitimate business activity from this firm.