Private investigator Simon Smith, who was hired by Mr Prescott, said the information he gathered would go a long way to helping Australian and international police to identify the scammers."All you need to do once you have an IP address and time is contact the relevant internet service provider in whatever country it is and, with a law authority, basically ask them, 'Who is the owner of this IP address?'" he said."And if you are a law enforcement officer, or even through a court, you can subpoena this information, then there's going to be a trail."7.30 has spoken to another woman who hired a US-based professional hacker to track down scammers that cheated her out of almost 0,000 through an online dating service.
Melbourne man Gerard Prescott turned to a private investigator earlier this year after losing $260,000 through an online dating scam."For the last 12 months all I've done is look for answers" he said."I got a private investigator to find the IP addresses, and I found an IP address in Nigeria and one in South Africa."Mr Prescott was tricked into sending the money after meeting who he thought was a Brisbane-based woman on a Christian dating website late last year.
Mr Prescott originally reported the fraud to the Federal Government's Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Authority (ACORN), but said he did not get a response until six months later."I haven't been able to get the police to do anything," he said.
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Reports are supposed to be passed on to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.
Earlier this year 7.30 lodged a Freedom of Information application with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), which is responsible for ACORN, requesting figures on how many reports ACORN had passed on to police.
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