Taking Action Against Fraud – Protecting Your Assets and Rights

As fraudsters widen the range of their activities, vigilance can help reduce the risk of falling victim to a scam and a quick response may limit the potential harm. Litigation Lawyer Kevin Li explains.

Introduction

If you have fallen victim to fraudulent activities, you need to know that you are not alone. Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that a significant portion of the Australian population, approximately two-thirds of individuals aged 15years or above, encountered scams in the 2021-2022 period.  

Don't Panic, Act Swiftly

The primary concern that arises for most individuals who have experienced fraud is the fear of losing their assets forever.  For some, this could mean losing their life savings. However, it is important not to panic. Instead to act swiftly to address the issue effectively. By taking immediate action, you can enhance your chances of protecting your assets and rights.

Fraud Reporting Exchange (FRX)

Recently, Australian banks have launched a platform, the Fraud Reporting Exchange, to tackle fraudsters and scammers by allowing the reporting of scam payments in close to real time to freeze funds that are en route or transferred to another bank. This new platform will allow the banks to halt multiple inter-bank transfers as part of the same scam, increase the chances of recovering the money and offer a streamlined return of funds where possible.  

Mareva Injunction - A Powerful Tool

If the fraudster can be identified, you might be able to issue legal proceedings to recover your assets.

One legal tool that can be employed to prevent fraudsters from disposing of assets is the Mareva injunction, also known as a ‘freezing order’. This legal remedy seeks to restrain the party involved from dealing with your assets in circumstances where you are seeking Court orders against them and you have grounds to suspect they will transfer or dispose of the assets to obstruct the enforcement of a judgment.

Due to the urgent nature of such situations, an application for a Mareva injunction is often made ex-parte, meaning that it is presented to the court without the respondent being present during the hearing. This ensures the preservation of assets before they can be depleted or concealed. Consequently, formal notice to the respondent may not begiven at the time of the application.

What You Need to Prove

To succeed in obtaining a Mareva injunction, the applicant must satisfy several criteria. These include:

  1. Demonstrating an arguable case for relief in the primary proceedings related to the fraud;
  2. Establishing a real risk of the respondent dissipating their assets;
  3. Showing that the balance of convenience favours the granting of the injunction.

Key Takeaway

In cases of fraud, it is essential to respond promptly and decisively. If you find yourself in such a situation, taking immediate action is crucial. Reporting to FRX and seeking legal remedies like a Mareva injunction can help protect your assets and reduce your loss. By understanding the conditions for a successful application and working with experienced legal professionals, you can navigate the complexities of fraud cases effectively.

How Sharrock Pitman Legal can help?

Being targeted by fraudsters can have devastating and long-term consequences for your financial wellbeing and as well as for your financial reputation, particularly where procuring finance, such as a bank loan or access to credit are concerned. If you suspect that you might have been a victim of fraud or scam, and wish to safeguard your assets, please contact our Disputes & Litigation team on 1300 205 506 or email litigation@sharrockpitman.com.au.

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Any legal matters should be discussed specifically with one of our lawyers.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

For further information contact  
Kevin K F Li

Kevin Li is an Associate Lawyer in our Commercial Litigation team. He has an advisory and advocacy practice in the areas of Commercial Litigation, debt recovery, insolvency, liquidation, and shareholder, commercial and contractual disputes. Kevin can be contacted on (03) 8561 3315.

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