Connect with us


Sydney couple scammed out of $100,000 in just two hours



A Sydney couple has lost their life savings after being duped by a highly-sophisticated scam.

Ben and Jessica were fleeced out of more than $100,000 in less than two hours.

"It's years of savings gone up in smoke. It's a lot of hard work, a lifetime of hard work," Ben told 9News.

READ MORE: Victims fight for stake of Sydney fraudster's multi-million dollar assets

It began with an email to Ben claiming to be from PayPal with a payment request, and a number to call if he thought the transaction was fraudulent, which he did.

"The people were telling me on the phone there were multiple fraudulent transactions and I had to go through a series of steps to get rid of those transactions."

Those steps included handing over personal details, debit card numbers and a series of one-time passcodes he thought were cancelling the fraudulent transactions.

"Every time they were making a purchase Ben was actually authorising it with that one-time password," Jessica said.

In less than two hours the scammer, who was in Perth, spent more than $100,000 in India and Kuwait using Ben and Jessica's debit card details linked to their offset account.

"The purchases ranged from about $500 to $1100, so it's extremely unusual activity," Jessica said.

READ MORE: Angela has never met a female colleague in 38 years on the job

A Sydney couple has lost their life savings after being duped by a highly-sophisticated scam.

They don't know how the criminal accessed their account but once in, they transferred $55,0000 from their home loan account into their offset – which has no spending limit – maximising the amount they could steal.

While Ben was on the phone with who he thought was PayPal, Macquarie Bank was calling about the suspicious activity – but couldn't get through.

Macquarie eventually put a block on the couple's cards but $100,000 was already gone.

"It's always a balance between protection and customer convenience, sometimes putting a block on a payment is something customers don't like," Anna Bligh from the Australian Banking Association said.

Police told Ben and Jessica the money can't be tracked because the purchases were with overseas companies.

Macquarie Bank also informed the couple their money can't be retrieved because they provided the scammer with the one-time passcodes.

READ MORE: The disturbing new street drug that's 'rotting people's flesh'

A Sydney couple has lost their life savings after being duped by a highly-sophisticated scam.

In a statement, it reminded customers to never share passwords or authentication passcodes with any third party.

"We want the federal government to reimburse victims of scams who lose money on their platforms," Tom Abourizk from the Consumer Action Law Centre said.

Banks can and in some cases do reimburse victims – in 2021 they refunded more than $102 million to customers duped by scams.

Tips for determining what is legitimate and what is a scam include knowing that your bank will never call and ask you to transfer funds.

You'll also never be asked to provide account or personal details in an unsolicited text or email. 

Financial institutions also won't ever demand online banking passcodes or passwords. 

And if the person on the phone is rushing you or has a sense of urgency that's a red flag.

"There's an element of shame that comes with it: you were tricked, you fell for it," Ben said.

"I consider myself savvy, I've fended off so many scams in the past."

Jess is going back to work to help with mortgage repayments – and they're changing banks.

Source link