Latest News from AUSTRAC

August 17, 2020

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Keep on top of the latest advisories and guidances from Australia’s financial intelligence unit (FIU) AUSTRAC. This blog will update with any new information from the regulator as it becomes available.

1 April 2020: COVID-19

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, AUSTRAC and its law enforcement and national intelligence partners are monitoring and preparing for a shift in the risks that criminals pose to the financial system and the community.

Reporting entities are at the front line in combating financial crime. We encourage you to monitor for new and emerging threats and submit suspicious matter reports (SMRs) to AUSTRAC. Submitting high-quality, accurate and timely SMRs give us the best chance to detect, deter and disrupt criminal activity.

AUSTRAC warns of criminal exploitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include the following areas:

  •  Targeting government assistance programs through fraudulent applications and phishing scams.
  • Movements of large amounts of cash following the purchase or sale of illegal or stockpiled goods.
  • Precious metals and gold bullion purchases that are out of character
  • Exploitation of workers or trafficking of vulnerable persons in the community.
  • Online child exploitation following restrictions on travel.
  • Extremist views may rise either against members of the community or the government.

AUSTRAC asks you advise them of any significant changes you observe in relation to your financial crime and fraud monitoring. Please use this online form.

 

27 March 2020: COVID Pandemic

The COVID-19 global pandemic is impacting all Australians and Australian businesses. AUSTRAC acknowledges that this is an unprecedented time for the superannuation sector.

We understand the importance of supporting your business and your customers during this time, while ensuring that we continue to fight financial crime.

We will work with you to facilitate a streamlined process for the making of payments under the Early Release of Superannuation Initiative so you can provide funds to people experiencing financial hardship promptly.

AUSTRAC acknowledges that the initiative will provide important relief to vulnerable Australians during the pandemic.

If you are an individual affected by COVID-19 enquiring about early access to your super, please contact the ATO directly. ­

If you are an AUSTRAC reporting entity and have questions about your customer due diligence obligations, please contact us using the online form.

We will continue to provide updates for reporting entities during the COVID-19 pandemic via the website.

 

16 January 2020: Campaign

In December, AUSTRAC wrapped up our community campaign targeting illegal money transfer dealers, or unregistered remittance dealers. The campaign ran from August to November and focused on raising public awareness and educating communities about the risks they pose.

Unregistered money transfer dealers represent a real threat to Australian communities as they are at high risk of being targeted by criminals to launder money to fund their activities. They also negatively impact the reputation of registered money transfer providers who are trying to do the right thing.

AUSTRAC staff visited communities and registered businesses across Australia. We spoke about the threat that unregistered money transfer dealers pose and how people can anonymously report suspected unregistered dealers.

While the campaign has now finished, our work continues. Over the coming months, we will:

  • Consolidate feedback and findings so we can determine the appropriate next steps
  • Continue to assess reports of suspected unregistered remittance dealers submitted to AUSTRAC and take any action required
  • Continue to support registered remittance providers through guidance resources and workshops throughout 2020 (details coming soon).

To learn more visit the campaign page.

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