Phone scams: A tragedy that most folks believe won’t happen to them. Well, until $10,000 of theirs is in a far-off bank account with no chance of ever coming back.
Take for instance, Aurora Casilli, an eighteen-year-old in Western Australia. Casilli was just existing when she received a text from someone claiming to be from NAB. This message stated that someone was trying to hack into her bank account.
Now, this message didn’t raise Casilli’s suspicions. This is because it was on the same thread as some other messages she received from NAB. She then rang the 1800 number included in the text.
“They advised me someone was trying to get into my account, and I needed to transfer all the money in my account, $36,561, to a new account since someone has hacked it,” said Casilli.
“Once I transferred the money, they hung up on me. Turns out all along I was speaking with the scammers.”
Another person who was the victim of a scam was Monique Svenson, a 37-year-old in NSW. Svenson received a text claiming to be from her bank while on holiday. This text said that someone was trying to access her account.
Because Svenson was driving across the Blue Mountains, losing reception along the way, she didn’t think that someone was trying to scam her. It was only when Svenson received a code that would’ve approved all of her money leaving her account did she realise something was up.
Svenson then called her bank, using a number from the bank’s website, and they confirmed that she was almost scammed.
When reflecting on this experience, Svenson said, “You think, ‘This happens to other people, this doesn’t happen to me’. You feel really uncertain. You definitely don’t know what to trust anymore.”
“I work full time for myself, I have staff, I have multiple bank accounts, I have a branch manager, I have accountants, I invest in shares. The banking world feels very familiar to me.”
How to Protect Yourself From Phone Scams
When discussing the nature of phone scams, NAB said, “NAB will never ask a customer to confirm, update or disclose personal or banking information via a link in a text message or email. People need to know that their bank will never ask them to transfer money to another account to keep it safe.”
“Your money is safe if it is in your account. Once you move your money to another account, you lose control of it, and it can be very difficult for your bank to recover it for you. Never be pressured by anyone to move your money out of your account.”
This isn’t just the case with NAB. Other Australian banks have the same sorts of policies.
Moreover, the Australian Communications and Media Authority recommends that you:
- Never send your money.
- Don’t reply or click on any links in text messages.
- Never let another person take over your computer.
- Don’t tell another person your personal details, passwords, or other private info.
- Don’t click on any text message links. Don’t respond to them either.
- Don’t answer your phone if you don’t know who’s calling. If a caller leaves a bank phone number, make sure to check it’s the one that’s on your bank’s website.