How to Report Fraud
***Important Information you must consider before requesting Police to investigate your complaint***
Please be aware that not all instances of fraud are investigated by the WA Police Force.
Criminal law is not about recovering money for the victim. If your sole desire is to recover money then you should commence civil proceedings.
In many instances where people lose money, it is not criminal but civil, particularly in matters involving breach of contract, or non-payment of debts. Police cannot investigate civil matters and police will not recover money on your behalf. If you wish to take civil action, you will need to seek your own legal advice, or speak to the Clerk of your Local Court.
These specific types of fraud should be reported to the following bodies:
- Cybercrime offences should be reported online via ReportCyber.
Cyber Crime includes:
- Directed at computers or other devices (such as hacking); and
- Where computers or other devices are integral to an offence (such as online scams / frauds).
- email, online and telephone scams (including scams from interstate or overseas) can also be reported to Scamwatch, which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
- financial and investment scams and fraud can be reported to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
- tax scams can be reported to the Australian Taxation Office.
- superannuation fraud can be reported to the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority.
- migration fraud can be reported to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
- Medicare, Centrelink and child support fraud can be reported to the Department of Human Services.
- veterans' entitlements fraud can be reported to the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
- Banking and credit card fraud – if your bank account or credit card has been compromised then contact your bank immediately.
Substantiating Fraud Complaints
When fraud complaints are received by police, they need to be substantiated with sufficient evidence to confirm that a crime has occurred.
The following are some of the considerations the WA Police Force will take into account when assessing a complaint:
- Whether the actual fraud offence is able to be particularised by the evidence provided;
- Overlapping jurisdictions – Fraud offences falling under the WA Criminal Code may also represent criminal offences under a number of other statutes (Commonwealth and State) including the Corporations Law and Fair Trading Act, amongst others. Other agencies including the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Australian Federal Police, Department of Commerce (Consumer Protection) have powers to investigate and prosecute fraud related matters. If this is the case, WA Police Force may not investigate the matter and it should be referred to the appropriate investigatory body.
- Deficient business practices, governance and record keeping procedures can result in difficulties for Police in gathering sufficient evidence to meet the standard of proof required in criminal matters. Despite the possibility of some element of criminality being identified, if this is the case then Police may exercise discretion to not commence a criminal investigation. The reporting entity will be advised to take civil action.
For business related fraud (including allegations of employee theft), it is recommended that the reporting organisation prepare and submit more detailed reports prior to referring it to the WA Police Force. This can include such things as a full forensic audit report and statements from a company representative/s who will be providing evidence in Court.
Fraud Report Form
If you wish to refer a fraud complaint to the WA Police Force, please complete the Fraud Report Form.
The completed form should be handed to your local Police Station.
What happens after I have reported a fraud matter to the WA Police Force?
You will be assigned an Incident Report Number.
Your complaint will be allocated to an Investigating Officer who will conduct a review to determine if the matter is criminal or civil. If the matter is more complex, the Investigating Officer may refer your complaint to the Major Fraud Squad for assessment.
If your complaint is deemed criminal in nature and considered in the public interest, then the WA Police Force may commence an investigation. The Investigating Officer will be from either your local Police Station, local Detectives Office, or in more complex matters, the Major Fraud Squad.
The Investigating Officer will contact you and keep you updated on the progress of the investigation.