An online crime syndicate has been accused of stealing more than $10 million from the superannuation accounts of ordinary Australians.
A 21-year-old Melbourne woman appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates Court this week, facing 53 charges relating to stolen identities.
The court heard she was a member of a syndicate that allegedly stole personal data from Australians both online and through mail theft. The group is then accused of using that data to hack into superannuation and share trading accounts to siphon money overseas.
The money was then laundered by buying assets like jewellery, before proceeds were sent back to Australia as cryptocurrency.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is continuing its investigations to work out the number of victims and the exact total amount that was stolen.
"The consequences of the breaches we have discovered are far-reaching, and can be traced back to cybercrime offences that impact everyday Australians," said AFP acting commander Chris Goldsmid.
"From identity theft, where innocent victims have their personal details stolen and sold online in dark net marketplaces, to hacking and phishing – this investigation has illustrated the devastating impacts that compromise of your identity can have."
Check your super
The public was urged to check their superannuation accounts for any suspicious activity.
Fairfax Media reported the hacked superannuation funds include AustralianSuper, HESTA, Hostplus, Club Plus Superannuation and LUCRF Superannuation.
Even though AFP is still investigating how many victims have been impacted, a spokesperson for AustralianSuper, the largest of the affected funds, told Yahoo Finance it identified “less than ten” members with losses.
“When we became aware of the fraud attempts last year, AustralianSuper immediately reported these irregularities to both the Australian Federal Police and local police,” said the spokesperson.
“A number of new cybersecurity measures have recently been implemented by the Fund to further protect member accounts.”
While all the funds affected have cooperated with the investigations, Australian Securities and Investments Commission deputy chair Daniel Crennan QC said financial firms needed to have adequate protections in place to shield people's life savings from danger.
"Cybersecurity threats such as data breaches and financial system attacks are a major concern for ASIC and we will continue to pursue not only cyber-related market and superannuation offending but also the need for institutions to maintain their obligations to ensure they have adequate cyber resilience."
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