NSW Police bust alleged Host Card Emulation fraud ring

$1.5 million worth of fraudulent purchases, police allege

Image: NSW Police.

Image: NSW Police.

NSW Police have arrested three men for allegedly using Host Card Emulation (HCE) to make fraudulent purchases.

Police arrested two men yesterday in Sydney and one today. The men are alleged to be part of a group that employed HCE to make fraudulent purchases totalling $1.5 million. HCE allows phones to emulate tap-and-pay purchases credit and debit card payments using Near Field Communication (NFC).

Police said they will allege that the group ported mobile phone numbers, compromised bank accounts through mobile applications and then purchased electronic and luxury goods. The goods would then allegedly be on-sold.

Members of the state’s Fraud and Cybercrime Squad in July last year launched Strike Force Tamarisk to investigate HCE fraud across Sydney.

The arrests yesterday and today followed the execution of seven search warrants across Sydney, including at homes at Rockdale, West Ryde, Greystanes, Bankstown, and Ultimo, at an office at Auburn, and at a Camperdown storage facility at.

“For every advancement in technology, there is a criminal looking for a way to exploit it for their advantage,” Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said in a statement.

“Personal information from documents such as bank statements, and phone or utility bills, can be used to access bank accounts, port mobile phones, or take over an identity completely.”

“While we are working closely with financial institutions and telco providers in this space, we urge the community to ensure they are doing everything possible to prevent their personal information from being unlawfully accessed,” Katsogiannis said.

“In particular, mobile phone users should be aware of the warning signs of porting, and if at any time you unexpectedly lose ‘service’ in a normal service area, contact your telco provider immediately.”

The officer advised people to visit the federal government’s Scamwatch site or the NSW Fraud and Cybercrime Squad’s Facebook page.

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Tags fraudsmartphonesmobile phonesnsw policenswNew South WalesNew South Wales (NSW)contactless paymentshost card emulation

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