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New financial crime guide explains cuckoo smurfing

28 June 2021

AUSTRAC’s Fintel Alliance has released a financial crime guide to help remittance service providers, banking and financial services businesses detect and report cuckoo smurfing.

Organised criminals use ‘cuckoo smurfing’ as a method of laundering money to disguise and integrate their funds across borders to profit from and further enable their illegal activities.

Generally this method of money laundering relies on exploiting the accounts of customers expecting to receive legitimate funds. These customers are often unaware that the funds transferred into their accounts are the proceeds of crime.

How you can help

To target this crime and help you protect your business and customers this new guide includes key indicators, a case study and guidance on when to submit a suspicious matter report (SMR).

How to report

If you identify indicators of potential activity involving cuckoo smurfing, please submit SMRs to AUSTRAC. To assist AUSTRAC to target this crime type, include key words in your report such as cuckoo smurfing.

Accurate and timely SMRs give us the best chance to detect, deter and disrupt cuckoo smurfing. AUSTRAC and our law enforcement partners use financial intelligence from your reporting to track down and stop criminals.

By working together, we can protect Australia’s financial system against exploitation.

Download and read the Financial crime guide – Detect and report cuckoo smurfing (PDF, 1.59MB)

How consumers can protect themselves

New educational materials released by the Australian Federal Police in collaboration with AUSTRAC are also available for the public on how to spot and protect themselves from this money laundering scheme. 

Download the Factsheet – Cuckoo smurfing: How to spot, avoid and protect yourself from this money laundering scheme (PDF, 580KB)