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Protecting Australians against financial crime



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SENATOR LISA SINGH DEPUTY CHAIR

PARLIAMENTARY JOINT COMMITTEE ON LAW ENFORCEMENT LABOR SENATOR FOR TASMANIA

PROTECTING AUSTRALIANS AGAINST FINANCIAL CRIME

The Abbott Government has been urged to boost protections against financial scams and exploitation after the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement tabled its inquiry report into financial related crime.

The Deputy Chair of the Committee, Senator Lisa Singh, said the report makes 14 recommendations on issues ranging from internet scams, identity fraud, and money laundering and counterfeiting.

“As technology evolves quickly, scammers and fraudsters are sadly finding new ways to exploit vulnerable Australians,” Senator Singh said.

“We need to constantly ensure our regulation, law enforcement, and education methods are contemporary enough to help protect Australian consumers.

“ABS research estimates almost 750,000 Australian were victims of identity fraud or identity theft in 2010-11, at an average personal cost of more than $4,000.

“Financial crime against indigenous communities was identified as a particular problem, and the report recommends the government fund targeted financial literacy education programs for those communities,” she said.

In May, the Treasurer announced a new Serious Financial Crime Taskforce involving officers from the Australian Federal Police, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Tax Office and other Federal bodies.

The inquiry report also recommends that:

The Government amend legislation to give the RBA administrative responsibility and the AFP law enforcement responsibility for counterfeit note collection and investigation.

The Government review the penalties under financial services laws administered by ASIC. Evidence indicates that penalties imposed for non-compliance by licenced financial services and credit operators are often heavier than penalties for unlicensed operators, which could act as an incentive to remain unlicensed and unregulated.

 ASIC implement measures to make its responses to internet-based scams and crimes far quicker. ASIC’s performance was criticised for a lengthy delay in responding to an online scam that exploited the name and ABN of a regulated and registered credit provider.

WEDNESDAY, 9 SEPTEMBER 2015

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