Anti-fraud initiative targets Katanning

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Project Sunbird, a joint anti-fraud initiative between WA Police Major Fraud Squad and Consumer Protection, is to target the Great Southern region.

A number of potential fraud victims, identified through money transfers to West Africa, are in the Katanning area and the total recorded monetary loss could be up to $100,000.

Detective Senior Sergeant Dom Blackshaw from WA Police Major Fraud Squad said these people would receive an intervention visit to hopefully prevent them from sending further funds to organised criminals.

“Current figures show around $500,000 a month going from Western Australia to places like Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone in various scenarios where the sender of the money is being defrauded,” he said.

“We have prevented a number of Australians from travelling overseas to meet organised criminal gang members who had been conning them online; some believed they were romantically involved with the fraudsters while others had been communicating with them in relation to an investment or beneficiary opportunity.”

Awareness-raising is a key part of the Project Sunbird campaign and a community education session will take place on the evening of Tuesday 23rd April at the function room in the New Lodge Motel, 172 Clive Street in Katanning. Attendees are asked to arrive at 6pm for a 6.15pm start. The presentation will run for about 45 minutes with time at the end for questions.

Detective Senior Constable Rob Martin said a similar presentation in Geraldton recently was very well-received.

“Attendees, including the mother of a fraud victim, a man who had himself been the victim of a fraud, seniors who had been targeted by scams, along with local TV and radio journalists all said they found the session extremely enlightening.

“We hope for a good turn-out when trying to impart this vital information and advice in Katanning.”

Consumer Protection work continues behind the scenes to alert and help victims.

This includes letters being posted to Western Australians believed to be caught up in these consumer frauds; a phone helpline and one-to-one meetings with victims.

WA ScamNet officers are disrupting scammers by shutting down email or social media accounts, bogus dating website profiles and reporting wire transfer recipient details to Western Union to prevent that identity being used in further fraudulent transactions.

Further information about Project Sunbird, tips to avoid relationship fraud and a factsheet for victims are all available at

Anyone who wants to talk to WA ScamNet about a suspected scam/fraud can do so by calling 1300 30 40 54 or emailing


Media Contact:
Alina Cavanagh  9282 0679 or 0423-846397


Consumer Protection
Media release
16 Apr 2013

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