EXCLUSIVE | NSW Police ignored Australian victim of Indonesian scam
An Australian victim of an Indonesian scam says he was met with laughter when he tried to report it to NSW Police last year.
The scam, now the subject of an FBI investigation, targets foreigners who work in the entertainment industry, such as writers, photographers and stuntpeople.
The victims are offered a lucrative job in Indonesia, usually Jakarta, and are asked to pay thousands of dollars for flights, drivers and other services.
They’re never reimbursed, with the scam continuing until the trip is over or they realise they’ve been conned.
Motivational speaker and endurance athlete Damien Rider tells Ben Fordham he fell victim to the scam last year.
He says the con is incredibly convincing, with the fraudsters sending him pilot scripts and schedules for a TV show. He even believed he was speaking directly to Wendy Murdoch at one stage.
But when he arrived in Jakarta, he became suspicious when he was asked to hand over $3000 for expenses.
When he realised it wasn’t a legitimate business deal, he came back to Australia and attempted to contact the Federal Police, Interpol and NSW Police.
But he says when he spoke to the most senior police officer at his local station, he wasn’t taken seriously.
“He was just laughing it off, saying ‘what do you want us to do about it?’
“I said ‘mate, this is national security… anything could’ve happened. They could’ve taken me out of this place and I could’ve died.
“His answer to that was ‘well, did you die?’”
He tells Ben it was a message he sent to Wendy Murdoch on Instagram that eventually put him in contact with the FBI.
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NSW Police has now changed their tune and put out an alert calling for any other Australian victims to come forward.
— NSW Police Force (@nswpolice) July 16, 2019
The scam is still ongoing, and the FBI is asking anyone who is travelling to Indonesia to work in the entertainment industry to exercise caution.