International Fraud Syndicate Targeting the Most Vulnerable: The Elderly

Elderly persons are often the targets of fraud in an attempt, by scammers, to swindle large amounts of money from vulnerable persons. Elderly persons are often trusting and may easily cave from undue pressure, thus making them an easy target from scammers.

The offence of Fraud under s192E of the Crimes Act addresses the acts of scammers against persons, particularly elderly persons.

Elements of Fraud:

  • A person

Under s4 of the Crimes Act, a person is defined as an individual, society, company, or corporation.

  • Deceptively or dishonestly

“Deceptively” is defined as the intentional or reckless use of deception through words or conduct (s192B Crimes Act). For example, intentionally representing yourself as a bank or an employee of the bank.

“Dishonestly” is defined as words, conduct or representations which are, according to the standards of ordinary people, are dishonest (s4B Crimes Act). Dishonesty is not a question of law but of fact, meaning that it is up to the jury to find that there is or is not dishonesty present (Bazouni v R [2019] 1884). Thus, the jury must determine whether the conduct is dishonest.

  • Obtains property belonging to another; or

“Obtaining” in this context is defined as having ownership, control and/or possession over the property. Take for example, a person getting money from another for the purposes of keeping it and/or using it however it suits them.

  • Obtains a financial advantage; or

Obtaining a financial advantage means that a person is financially better off after committing the dishonest/deceptive act. For example, scamming a person out of their life savings or a motor vehicle. It is important to note that the financial advantage can be either permanent or temporary.

  • Causes any financial disadvantage to the another

A fraudulent act may not incur a financial advantage to the scammer but will, in most cases, result in the victim being put into a situation of financial disadvantage. For example, the elderly person tricked into giving $3,000 will be financially worse off as their savings have diminished.


The most recent fraud attempt, particularly on the elderly, were calls in relation to issues with their bank accounts. Police have outlined distinct characteristics of the scammer’s MO:

  • A person would call the elderly victim informing them that their bank accounts have been “compromised”.
  • They then state that the only means of keeping their money safe is to open a new account with the bank through providing $3,000 to a mail courier to deposit to the new account.
  • The mail courier would then pick up the money from the victim’s house.
  • The victim would then receive a call later stating that a further $5,000 is required for the bank account.

On the 23rd June 2020, the police apprehended a 19-year-old woman and 22 year-old man in relation to this crime. Both individuals were charged with five counts of dishonestly obtaining property by deception and three counts of knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime.


If you have been a victim of fraudulent activity or have any information, it is encouraged that you contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.


This above information is intended as general information and is not intended to be relied on as legal advice.

Pannu Lawyers extensively practice in Criminal Law and regularly appear at Courts throughout New South Wales. If your matter is at Blacktown Local Court, we are conveniently located within a walking distance from the Blacktown Local Court. Call our office on 02 9920 1787 to discuss your matter in a confidential manner.

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