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Retirement village fraud prevention strategies - pilot program launched

By Julie McStay01 Sep 2011

The Queensland Police Service has announced that its Fraud and Corporate Crime Group (FCCG) on 31 August 2011, launched a dedicated program to reduce incidences of fraud perpetrated by criminals upon residents of retirement communities. To read this announcement, please click here.

The FCCG is a specialist investigative unit attached to State Crime Operations Command with responsibility for conducting and assisting in investigations of major and serious fraud, arson offences, identity crimes/ theft, the forfeiture of assets under the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act 2002 (Qld), and computer related crime.

The 12 month pilot program, in partnership with certain retirement villages, will conduct safety audits and fraud awareness surveys with staff and residents. The FCCG will then provide information, advice and education sessions. It will also provide specific advice on how to secure potentially vulnerable computer systems.

The FCCG will then return to conduct a second fraud awareness survey to measure the effectiveness of the education programs. The aim is to make retirement communities and residents a harder target for crime.
In a recent article by the Australian Ageing Agenda, according to Detective A/Senior Sergeant Lisa Scully from the FCCG 'Older people are among the vulnerable groups, often falling prey to both untargeted frauds, like scam letters and emails, and targeted ones like phantom investments for self-managed superannuation.'

'There is a lot of self-funded retirees these days with self-managed superannuation and access to significant funds; and they are targeted' she said.

The FCCG takes a proactive approach to preventing transnational fraud by raising public awareness, sharing knowledge and developing partnerships with industry and between different parts of the government. Detective Scully said that 'Educating people to know what to look out for was a more effective way of dealing with fraud than the traditional approach, of reacting to reports from people after they've parted with their money.'

'We can help them with filtering out what is a scam and what is not, because scams can look very legitimate. The bank emails look very real and the mail ones come printed and perforated, some of them with fraudulent cheques attached.'

The Queensland Police Service has stated that it wants to encourage an industry standard for fraud prevention. To read more of this article please click here.

Education and common sense preventative strategies are key to protecting the hard earned assets and interests of elderly residents of retirement villages.

For more information on this program or on how you might protect your residents, contact the Queensland Police Service, 'Project Synergy team' via email at ProjectSynergy@police.qld.gov.au.