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AUSTRAC wraps up campaign targeting illegal money transfer dealers

16 January 2020

In December, we wrapped up our community campaign targeting illegal money transfer dealers, or unregistered remittance dealers. The campaign ran from August to November and focused on raising public awareness and educating communities about the risks they pose.

Unregistered money transfer dealers represent a real threat to Australian communities as they are at high risk of being targeted by criminals to launder money to fund their activities. They also negatively impact the reputation of registered money transfer providers who are trying to do the right thing. 

During the campaign, AUSTRAC staff visited communities and registered businesses across Australia. We spoke about the threat that unregistered money transfer dealers pose and how people can anonymously report suspected unregistered dealers. 

Key highlights from the campaign

Between August and November, more than 130 AUSTRAC staff visited over 400 registered money transfer businesses in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane. These visits gave businesses the opportunity to provide feedback and ask AUSTRAC staff questions about their obligations. 

Over 240 people attended town hall meetings, including local community leaders and multicultural organisations, registered money transfer providers, partner agencies and journalists.  

Throughout the campaign the main things we heard were that:

  • For some, access to the banking system is difficult
  • For others, regular proactive engagement with banking partners has worked well in retaining bank accounts
  • Remittance businesses are adapting and changing the channels they use to attract customers and provide remittance services (including the use of online platforms), and
  • AUSTRAC guidance material, workshops and other support is appreciated.

What’s next for AUSTRAC and the remittance sector? 
While the campaign has now finished, our work continues. Over the coming months, we will: 

  • Consolidate feedback and findings so we can determine the appropriate next steps  
  • Continue to assess reports of suspected unregistered remittance dealers submitted to AUSTRAC and take any action required
  • Continue to support registered remittance providers through guidance resources and workshops throughout 2020 (details coming soon).

To learn more visit the campaign page