Interviewer: 60 Minutes presents a live interview with Brian Hay, Detective Superintendent from the Fraud & Corporate Crime Group of Queensland Police Service.
Interviewer: Detective Superintendent Hay, thank you for talking to us tonight, in our live online chat room.
Brian Hay: Hi, thanks for having me tonight. I hope I manage to answer your questions.
John asks: Is there an active taskforce tracking down these bad people?
Brian Hay: We have a team in QLD that have developed close working relationships with Garner and Nigeria to hunt down these predators.
Robbie asks: My husband and I met via an online dating website but we were careful, meeting public places etc. How can others have safe experiences via dating websites - how can they check that others are legitimate?
Brian Hay: The best starting point is to initiate contact with people in your own country. The failing that we see in all of our cases is that the relationship is always abroad.
Nick asks: How do we make others aware of these scams?
Brian Hay: The media are our greatest ally. Continued media attention will drive greater awareness.
Bella asks: One of my e-mails seems to have fallen to these types. I don't answer of course, but how do you get rid of them?
Brian Hay: Let them know that you are aware of what they are up to and if you are in a dating online environment, report them to the administrators.
chris asks: What should I do if someone asks for money over the net?
Brian Hay: Never pay it. Understand that there is every likelihood that you are dealing with a fraudster and please report it.
Maldive1 asks: my sister seems to have been chatting to a person or person like the ones shown on your story and has just returned from Malaysia and meeting this so called new love interest. After seeing this story I have warning alarm bells ringing with nowhere to turn. She is naive and I know that if I voice my concern she will not listen. What should I do? I don’t know if money has been exchanged.
Brian Hay: My advice would be to attempt to have meaningful dialogue with your sister and let your sister know that you are not there to be critical, but to provide support.
Magnanimous_96 asks: How do you become aware of these cases. Are they given to you by people or do you find them via dodgy emails etc
Brian Hay: Neither. Nearly all of our matters we have to identify ourselves by following the money that leaves Australia.
ally asks: what do you do when you get a scam letters about a long lost relative that has died and you know its a scam do we give it to the police?
Brian Hay: Destroy it and make all your friends and relatives aware of its existence so they too can be educated on what you have experienced.
concerned asks: Outside of this one off interview, what advertisement of this scam has occured?
Brian Hay: This is in fact the second sting we've set up with 60 minutes. We have hosted three international fraud conferences on this subject and I have probably undertaken in excess of 50 media interviews on this subject over the past five years. We've established the world's first advanced fraud reporting portal, allowing people to report directly to the Nigeria EFCC and Ghana Police.
karenchoco asks: How do you find out if the person who you lost $10000 to has done this to other women? His name is Christopher Harley. How do you warn other people?
Brian Hay: First of all, let the police know. Let the administrators of the dating site you are using know. And you can report the matter to our Advanced Fee Fraud portal, which is linked on the Queensland Police webpage. And please don't send anymore money.
Kerriez asks: My Mum lives On the gold coast and has man in the US who is coming out to live with her next week. She has never met him but declares her love for him, how can i check him out,?
Brian Hay: Wait for him to arrive, I hope your mother hasn't sent money to pay for his air fare. If he is funding his own air travel it may well be legitimate. And fingers crossed that your mum has found happiness.
Magnanimous asks: Are you able to extradite them from Nigeria if they attempt to scam an Australian citizen, or do they have to succeed first
Brian Hay: The position we've adopted is to support the Nigerians in the prosecution of the Nigerian offenders. Our first conviction yielded a term of imprisonment of 19 years.
faye4james asks: where do you go for help and don't want everyone to know?
Brian Hay: Give us a call at the Fraud and Corporate Crime Group. Tell them you are ringing as a consequence of 60 minutes and someone will speak to you or get back to you. The number of 07 3364 6622
get_real asks: I work for a Consumer Protection agency in an Australian state and unfortunately I have no sympathy for people who think they will find love at the end of a keyboard; find wealth through a horse race tipping website or a good tradesman's job when approached by people who happen to have left over product from another job. People need to take responsibility and accountability for their actions and understand the basic fact of life - If it sounds too good to be true then it generally is to good to be true!! Consumer protection agencies can only provide so much education for people via media releases and media stories. Is there anything else apart from holding the hands of people that Government agencies can do for these people??
Brian Hay: To understand why people fall for these frauds means we need to ignore rational hindsight, we need to understand that people's responses that allow them to fall victim are a consequence of emotion, not logic. These people don't want sympathy, they want respect and we should remember that every single one of us could fall victim if approached in the right manner at the most vulnerable point in our lives. The greatest assistance we can give to people is always be prepared to listen and always encourage them to talk. Unfortunately these offenses are so prevalent because they are lonely and feel no one wants to listen or they will be ridiculed if they speak.
Jcook asks: Can we contact the Ghana police from Australia to get investigations happening?
Brian Hay: Yes, through our AFF portal that you can find from the Queensland Police website.
TERRI-M asks: Is there help of this type in NSW and other states?
Brian Hay: We have the only reporting portal in Australia to initiate direct contact with Ghana and Nigeria. A member of any state of territory can utilise the portal.
John asks: If people are searching on dating websites, what type of people should they be avoiding?
Brian Hay: Avoid people that are not in your own country.
Paul asks: Do any of these people ever get their money back?
Brian Hay: In a word, no. We have done it, but it is so rare that I'm reluctant to give false hope.
missy asks: Why did 60 Mins have to get involved to catch these people.... cant the feds do that?
Brian Hay: We asked 60 Minutes to get involve, not so much to catch the people but to highlight the issue. We have had offenders caught by working with Nigerian and Ghana police.
MARY asks: The person I am speaking to (Agustino Kye) claimed to be living in Horsham Vic, working as an engineer in the Pilbara Mine and has this week flown to KL to collect payment for a roading contract? I have since been asked for $3k to help pay Customs Duty for some goods he needs to import to complete his Contract. Any comments?
Brian Hay: Fraud fraud fraud. Don't send any money.
chrisjac557 asks: I have been talking to a lady online for the last 3 months she said she was a Australian and was in Nigeria on holidays and was stuck there. Needed money $600 when I said I did not have that money went down to $200. She still is contacting me and I keep telling her I will help her. I have her email address what should I do I am not sending her money
Brian Hay: Please contact us at the Fraud and Corporate Crime Group on the number previous provided earlier in this chat and we'll have the opportunity to set up a sting if you are prepared to assist us.
TERRI-M asks: Is the portal phone number 24hrs
Brian Hay: It's not a phone number, it's an online reporting tool and hence is 24 hrs.
Flutters asks: I wonder, do the Fraud people do any education in the community to inform people, especially women that these scams exist and how to stay safe ?
Brian Hay: Yes we do 100s of public forums a year on various scams and frauds.
Maldive1 asks: How do u approach friends or family regarding them being scammed without alienating them or making them angry and upset with even though you’re trying to help. Or trying to make them aware of the situations out there and that they may be a victim?
Brian Hay: Ask them to watch the 60 minutes program if you recorded it, or it will appear on the website soon. And the conversation needs to be approached from a perspective that you are not criticising them and that you'll support them no matter what.
cynthia asks: I reported my situation to my local police and after about 2-3 weeks was told that they track the money to cardiff, wales through western union but that was as far as they could go. I made phone calls to this guy and my phone account showed cardiff. Could this guy be part of the scam?
Brian Hay: Yes, it is possible. We know that the Nigerian network is global, for example. We know that every dollar that goes to Nigeria is part of an investment scam, there is a further and dollar and four cents that will go to one of another 41 different countries.
Flutters asks: What kind of people get scammed? Is there a 'type' ?
Brian Hay: No, anyone can be a victim of fraud if approached with the right story at a venerable time in their lives.
Rajih asks: I am a 47 divorced man from Sydney, I met a woman online from Sri Lanka about 2 months ago. Since then I have been asked for 11 thousand dollars. I have been suspicious ever since she asked me for a lot of money, but I know it can't be fake and I'm in love. Help?
Brian Hay: Don't send the money. Seek support from friends and they will understand that your emotions are real and that this will be difficult for you to get through, but you will.
Christopher asks: Brian how do I report a scam on face book when face book is not taking action?
Brian Hay: You can contact your local police or report it to Scam Watch with the ACCC.
Jopie2 asks: I was conned two months ago, is it any use reporting this still? I was too ashamed until tonight
Brian Hay: Absolutely! Please report to our reporting portal on the Queensland Police website and don't feel ashamed.
lillyj66_130 asks: Hi I was talking to a Mack Omard in ghana, sent $3750 to a Stanley Gardner . I still have an email, mobile number & western union evidence do I keep them?
Brian Hay: Yes and please make a report through our reporting portal on the Queensland Police website.
george3081 asks: Hi I have contact via email with someone who claims to be in NSW selling me a rare breed of rabbit which I have since realised is not available in Australia, this person is asking me to pay money into an account and give all my details online. I have found the pictures sent to me to be cut and pasted from google images so I definitely now that this is a scam, you just have to read the messages to know. This is still in process and I hate that others are probably losing money this way. I am hoping to hand over all details to stop this. Would your group deal with this or should I contact someone else?
Brian Hay: Yes! Please report through the reporting portal on the Queensland Police website.
Paul asks: Is there a website that we can check the black listed email addresses?
Brian Hay: The best thing is to search online for the email address and if it is a black listed email website it will probably come up. But if you report it through our portal we may be able to take steps to have the email taken down.
Magnanimous asks: Do you have a position on 'scam-baiting' by the public?
Brian Hay: My position is not to encourage it, we should never lower our own standards on how we treat people and we should not underestimate their technical photos or infect our computers. With viruses or malware.
Cath asks: Hi. I have so many scam letters arrive in spam box I just delete the lot without reading them or reporting them to anyone. Is it worth bothering to do anything else?
Brian Hay: You're doing the right thing, delete them, don't read them.
jenny asks: i was scammed out of $75,000 just over 12 months ago, it was out of character of me it has totally destroyed my life, I did report to the scam dept, I have all the paper work hidden so no one should find it as i am so ashamed, I still have his phone number, email, I would like some one to help me as i do not think i can do it alone any more.
Brian Hay: Please contact us at the Fraud and Corporate Crime group tomorrow!
Daniel_9Pies asks: Sir, I am a Detective investigating a similar strategy. I have discovered links to Turkey through the origins of the emails and Western Union transfers going to the United Kingdom. I have requested assistance from interpol, but have received no reply. Is there any pointers you would suggest?
Brian Hay: Please call us tomorrow to discuss this via the phone number provided earlier in the chat.
Flutters asks: Does the Queensland Police website handle all scams that are reported from all states in Australia ?
Brian Hay: If you're talking about Nigeria and Ghana scams, we are the facilitator for the reporting to those countries. Those countries are prepare to undertake the investigations. We have assisted with other state investigations in the past which have led to arrests.
Mark asks: Is there a chance these crime bosses in Nigeria be found and arrested as well as their pawns?
Brian Hay: Yes the more reports and more intelligence we get, the better of that happening.
Raelene73 asks: How do I contact you to report the man who has conned me this year in Kuala Lumpur?
Brian Hay: Please call us at the Fraud and Corporate Crime group on 07 3364 6622.
Interviewer: I am sorry we are out of time, do you have anything else you would like to share before we finish tonight?
Brian Hay: Thank you everyone for the opportunity to answer your questions, if we can do anything to assist please contact us on the Fraud and Corporate Crime at 07 3364 6622 or you can visit the Queensland Police website.
Interviewer: Once again thank you for joining us, and goodnight.
Interviewer: This concludes our chat with Brian Hay, Sunday October 30, 2011.