The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC) has issued a new financial crime guide to help financial sector businesses in the detection and reporting of suspicious transactions that may be linked to fraud and misuse of emergency and disaster relief funds administered through Services Australia.
Services Australia is an agency of the Australian government which delivers government payments and services. During 2020-21, Services Australia delivered AUD 230.10 billion ($164.82 billion) to Australian citizens in the form of social support. This amount includes AUD 21.50 billion ($15.40 billion) provided as disaster relief to victims of COVID-19, floods, fires and cyclones. Unfortunately, malicious actors try to misuse such services to fraudulently gain relief funds by stealing the identities of vulnerable citizens. AUSTRAC collaborated with Services Australia and its Fintel Alliance members to create a guide to help identify such malicious actors.
This guide highlights some of the indicators of financial transactions that indicate potential fraud. These include the transfer of emergency or disaster relief funds into known suspicious or blacklisted accounts, or into accounts with limited or infrequent transactional activity.