The recent case of a tradesman accused of falsely showing his bank balance to be nearly $600 million in credit highlights the need for brokers to remain vigilant about financial records, the FBAA has warned.
Queensland carpenter-bricklayer Phillip Harrison allegedly used a false banking app to convince officials he had $596 million in cash and a billion-dollar property portfolio, The Courier-Mail reported.
Harrison fronted Brisbane Magistrates Court last month after he was pulled over by police on Good Friday. It is alleged that he was carrying drugs, including ecstasy and ice, when he was pulled over.
Authorities later discovered that Harrison lied about his wealth and had used an app that imitated Commonwealth Bank's online account.
FBAA chief executive Peter White said it was not new for someone to “dummy up” a payslip or other financial records to misrepresent their true worth and income streams.
“This turned out to be a poor joke, but the underlying problem here is just how sophisticated and genuine-looking fake online apps can appear, and how they may attempt to deceive lenders,” he said.
Mr White said brokers had to be alert at all times, and investigate anomalies and suspicious-looking financial details.
“If in doubt and you have suspicions, always ask questions and seek out other avenues to double check what the customer is telling you,” he said.
“In this era of identity theft and online fraud, the days of using a simple payslip for proof of income have disappeared.”
[Related: Victorian man banned from credit activities]