Australia new soft target for criminals

POLICE are investigating possible links between a Malaysian criminal organisation and the discovery of hundreds of counterfeit credit cards and machines used in their productionin southeast Queensland.

While police believe credit card fraud is a growing problem worldwide, Detective Superintendent Brian Hay from the state fraud and corporate crime group said activity originating in Malaysia was of particular concern to investigators in Australia.

"Malaysia has been an epicentre for card skimming operations and counterfeit card production for some years now," he said.

"Since the Malaysian Government introduced chip/PIN technology on their credit cards within Malaysia they (the criminal groups) have had to look for other places to ply their trade." Det-Supt Hay said although police had been investigating the most recent cases of alleged fraud for several months, investigators had been aware of Malaysians linked to co-ordinated crime syndicates operating in Australia since 2000.

"We are seeing more activity, however, in the last 12 months.

Australia still predominantly relying on magnetic striped data on our credit cards makes us a soft target."

Gold Coast Bulletin,

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