Scams are pretty commonplace in the modern age. Just another sad obstacle in a world already riddled with the depressing face of Andrew Bolt and a complete and utter lack of Harambe.
Gloomy reminders aside, years of quality A Current Affair journalism should have thoroughly ingrained the obvious hallmarks of a scam into all of our minds. But as the Brisbane City Council just discovered, some scams can go straight over our Harambe-mourning head.
Since July 13, the government body lost a staggering $450,000 of ratepayers’ money through an elaborate scam that involved swindlers posing as a company they regularly paid. They simply called the council and told them their bank account details had changed, allowing them to pay 9 lots of $50,000 straight into the hands of the thieves.
According to Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, the master scammers provided fake email addresses and invoices to support their story.
“They were payments that should’ve gone to a professional services provider but have gone to a scam account which was set up through a process which the scammers used,” he said.
The old switcheroo, hey? A textbook stitch-up.
The understandably pissed off Quirk says he’s got economic lords Deloitte on the case, enlisting their help to investigate the fraud alongside the Queensland Police, the Crime and Corruption Commission and the Queensland Audit Office.
Despite this monumental stirring of the hive, the Brisbane City Council have little hope of ever recovering the swindled cash.
“I’m hoping obviously that we get money back for ratepayers but just knowing the way these scammers work, I’m not holding out a lot of hope,” said Quirk.
Alan MacSporran, chairman for the CCC, says the recovery rate of treasures lost to scams such as this are low af.
“These syndicates are not run by dodgy salesmen, they are controlled by master manipulators, who regularly prey upon people from all over Australia,” he said.