24th May 2019

Ever wondered where kids get the money for smokes, drugs and alcohol?

It is time to, “blow the gaff”, on the Great Myki Scam.

Fare evaders are scamming the public transport system of around $30 to $80 Million a year, and a great percentage of these scammers are our children.

How the scam works is that flustered parents are browbeaten into handing over cash because” My card has to be topped up”. Usually in the middle of the hurley burly as they are shuffled towards to door to catch their transport, a calculated strategy.

As a trusting parent, you naturally assume the money goes to top up the card; in reality, you probably never gave the matter a second thought, why would you, you trust your own children?  In most cases, however, it simply goes into the back pocket to top up any allowance or other income source to fund the child’s social life, happy pills, alcohol, smokes or pot.

This scam is very widespread amongst our youth, the chances of getting caught are very low, so it is worth the risk. This is normal adolescence risk-taking, and they would rarely think past the actions to understand the consequences. Your children from a very young age are peer pressured into the scam. The first that a parent may know is a summons being served for the child to appear in court.

Parents need to have trust in their children, but they also should remove pitfalls. You would not let your child walk to close to a precipice, but you leave temptation for them that leads to criminal behaviour and a life ruined by drugs.

Arguing that we are using fear tactics means you are in denial. The drug pusher that will hunt your child is not some sleaze hanging around the skate park but far more likely to be somebody who is in your child’s circle of friends and more likely than the not you have met them.

Stopping the Myki scam will have the greatest negative impact on the drug trade and the greatest positive impact on your children, removing the temptation to break the law, steal.

Moreover, if you think that this scam would only be perpetrated by the lower socio-economic classes, you may be surprised to learn that the leafy affluent suburbs serviced by the Glen Huntley Tram Depot have the highest rate of offending. The lowest offending rate is from the Essendon Depot that services the north and western suburbs.

Did you know, or would you have guessed that the most prevalent, by quite a margin, offence accounting for over 30% of the cases before the Children’s Court is Fare evasion or more accurately Theft from transit authorities?

Did you also know that if your child is convicted of Fare evasion (Theft), then they will hinder their future having to declare their past criminal conviction for employment, passports and a raft of other requirements? Yes, fare evasion convictions are convictions for dishonesty. Being convicted as a child is still a conviction and never goes away at IBET network interac.

A great start for life with a criminal record also barring your child from a swag of career choices.

The scam can be eliminated fairly simply. Adjust your child’s Myki card account so it can be “topped up automatically.”

Removing this temptation that would through peer pressure lead to your child stealing. Automatic top-up can be a lot cheaper in the long run, is unintrusive and importantly does not risk a breach of trust with your child. This simple strategy also negates peer pressure, at least on this point.

The transit authorities must also do their part in ensuring that all Myki accounts in the name of a child are linked to an automatic account as the default option. Parents who cannot for whatever reason comply would need to make arrangements with the appropriate transit authority.

The other mammoth cost must be the appearances of large numbers of children at the Children’s Court for fare evasion (Theft). The cost in court time and legal representation, whether privately or publicly funded, must be an eye-watering number.

They, having been detected probably by the transit company for fare evasion, the companies have no choice but to send a child to Court. It astounds us that the Government has not stepped into making an arrangement where these children can be processed by the Police Cautioning Program. That option already exists for children intercepted by police for Fare evasion.

It would make a lot of sense if the fare evasion charges were processed through the Police Cautioning Program with only the recidivist offenders facing Court. A Police Caution eliminates the risk of a criminal record.

Apart from the huge cost savings, the seriousness of the offence can be sheeted home as it would then involve Police, a formal warning would seem appropriate for the child, and a financial penalty for the parent may rapidly sponsor conversion of Myki cards to an automatic top up.

Applying a little lateral thought may avoid a life of crime for some, avoid hardship for some families and a huge saving in lost revenue freeing our courts for other serious crime. Reducing the time that young people need to be detained on remand waiting for their case to be head for other more serious matters.