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With the recent news of a Western Australian woman falling victim to the first-ever reported case of a surrogacy scam, Precise Investigation would like to share a few statistics regarding Australian scam rates so far this year. Before we do, however, let’s take a quick look at what happened to Jill Weller:
Based in Geraldton, Western Australia, Jill Weller was on holiday in France when her and her partner decided to investigate their options as surrogate parents. They reviewed and signed up to a number of related websites and through surrogatefinder.com they managed to find a couple in need of assistance; Mr Gordon and his wife, Arita.
The scam was simple – use the reputable website to make a strong emotional connection with someone over a very sensitive and personal topic, then leverage that connection to dupe the victim into parting with a substantial amount of money.
In Jill’s case, Mr Gordon had asked her to wire $2,000 across to the UK as a means to “validate” her upcoming visa application, as the Government there would use this transaction to verify that Mrs Weller had enough money to stay and live in the country without having to work. Considering the circumstances, Jill gladly accepted, growing ever more excited at the prospect of becoming a surrogate mother.
However, just a few days later, Mr Gordon then asked her to front another $356 to cover the costs of her visa application fees. Taking into account what she was already doing for Mr Gordon’s family, she asked him to pay the fees instead, to which he responded that he was in and out of the country too frequently to handle the visa situation, but that he’d pay her back, in full, when she arrived.
Suspicious at this point, Jill called MoneyGram, the service she’d used to wire the money to the UK, to enquire as to whether her money was still waiting for her in their UK bureau… which it was not. The money had been withdrawn the exact same day that it was sent. Furious, Jill called Mr Gordon and angrily asked him what had happened, his response to which was simply hanging up the phone.
Over the course of their communications, Jill had shared her Australian bank details, her passport and birth certificate information, medical certificates and photographs of her and her family amongst countless other documents with the Gordon family – they are still yet to use, or try to use it, but they do have it.
Jill has since warned her fellow surrogacy seekers that if they’re serious about becoming surrogate parents, their safest bet is to go through the Reproductive Technology Council first.
We’re already a quarter of the way through 2016, and unfortunately scams and acts of fraud like Jill’s, are continuing to affect Australian individuals, families and businesses across the country.
Let’s have a look at some of the figures for 2016 so far:
Precise Investigation has helped hundreds of businesses and private clients across Australia to overcome a host of fraud and scam-related matters both in the office and at home. Our thirty-years’ experience has allowed us and our professional private investigators to go about providing the most appropriate, discrete and cost-effective private investigation services to people in need, wherever they may be within Australia. If you think you could have fallen victim to a scam, or perhaps you’re on the verge of being defrauded, please:
Call Precise Investigation today on 1300 856 011 for a professional private investigation service.
Precise Investigation has operatives stationed across all of Australia, with quick and easy access to the likes of Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and even the more remote reaches of the country. Wherever you are and no matter how complex your particular case may be, rest assured that our team of highly-trained operatives are sure to have the expertise, experience and skillsets required to help you in overcoming your biggest concerns. Get in touch with us today and see how we can be of assistance.
Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.
The Precise Investigation Team