Tap-and-go fraudster on notice

Michael TraillAlbany Advertiser

Police have issued a warning to would-be tap-and-go fraudsters, saying they have ways of tracking them down and aim to bring as many of them before the courts “as humanly possible”.

The rise of tap-and-go or payWave technology has made life easier for criminals who no longer need to know a pin number to use a stolen credit card.

In Albany Magistrate’s Court last Thursday, a serial tap-and-go fraudster was fined and placed on an intensive supervision order after pleading guilty to 22 charges of gaining benefit by fraud.

Magistrate Raelene Johnson told Nathan Paul Millane if he continued his “escalating” offending, his next step would be jail.

Millane was the latest in an ongoing procession of fraudsters clogging the Albany court.

Albany Police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Grant Pollard said tap-and-go fraud was an easy crime which was hard for citizens and banks to counteract.

But police gave it a lot of attention because of its impact on the community — and they were having a lot of success.

“Unfortunately with the tap-and-go, that makes pin numbers and securities superfluous,” Sen. Sgt Pollard said. “It’s one of those crimes, the only way you can prevent it from being committed is by securing your cards at all times.

“Having said that we do have a very good apprehension rate on this type of offence.

“There are ways and means of tracking the offender.”

In court last Thursday, police prosecutors told the court that 18 of Millane’s 22 counts of gaining benefit by fraud stemmed from a tap-and-go shopping spree in Denmark and Albany on June 26.

Millane had stolen his victim’s ANZ credit card from her handbag while using her computer.

He was captured on CCTV cameras at businesses throughout Denmark and Albany, where he racked up nearly $500 worth of purchases on the credit card. The rest of his charges dated back to March 3, when he used a friend’s Westpac bank card to make five unauthorised transactions in Busselton.

Millane had been given his friend’s bank card to buy alcohol and cigarettes from Dan Murphy’s. But he had other ideas, using the card at several other businesses.

The March offences came weeks after Millane received $1600 in fines for nine other gaining benefit by fraud charges in Busselton Magistrate’s Court on February 12.

Ms Johnston said it was greatly concerning those charges had not deterred Millane.

She described his lack of attendance at a pre-sentence report interview with the Department of Corrective Services as “troubling and puzzling”. Millane was told he had avoided prison because he had not been given the opportunity to be placed on a court-imposed order. “Next step is jail. It’s up to you,” Ms Johnston said.

Ms Johnston placed Millane on a 12-month intensive supervision order, which includes 80 hours of community service, and handed him a $2500 fine.

She told the court Millane already had $16,000 of unpaid fines.

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