28 June 2022 23:03
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Australian university student scammed of nearly $3000 from her bank account

“They managed to turn off my NetBank notifications which allowed them to get a NetCode without me ever knowing.”

An Australian university student says that she was scammed of around $3000 by unknown person(s) with remote access to her mobile phone.

Sarah Towers called Commonwealth Bank as soon as she saw that her account was drained.

She shared in a video posted on TikTok that she noticed that the money she had put aside for bills draining from her savings account.

@trysarahtops

For context, I am a uni student on minimum wage. I now have to try to get enough money to pay back my credit card, just so that they don’t charge me late fees on the money this guy took. I am distraught, so please don’t mock me for how I look today. #fyp #scammed

♬ original sound – Sarah Towers
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She believes that the scammer was able to remotely access her text messages and NetBank code and withdraw from London amount ranging from $200 to $900 on May 10. Sarah shared in the video:

“They managed to turn off my NetBank notifications which allowed them to get a NetCode without me ever knowing.”

She feels that the scammers were able to register their CommBank app that allows users to register up to five devices at one and thus make “authorised transactions”.

Sarah was finally able to gain access and change the pin code of the app, but it was too late!

Soon, she was booted out from her account following too many incorrect pin entries from the scammer.

Sarah called the bank’s helpline number and also visited her local branch. She observed:

“I did have to wait until Monday to go into a branch to help me, because they were no help over the phone. The branch I go to are super nice, I’m just so disappointed with their security and decision.”

Sarah had just $200 remaining in her account by the time her account was closed by CommBank.

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Sarah’s reports that her transaction dispute claim was reviewed three weeks later and the bank claimed that because she was aware of the money leaving her account it was “authorised” and bank cannot compensate.

Sarah made a complaint to the Australian Cyber Security Centre and also contested the decision of the outcome with CommBank.

The case was reopened with a case manager and a CommBank spokesperson told 7NEWS.com.au:

“We are always very concerned when we are made of aware of frauds and scams affecting customers and the wider community. We review frauds and scams on a case-by-case basis however it is widely recognised that scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated which has prompted increased investment across the sector.”

@trysarahtops

Thankyou for helping me get to where I am now 💙 If anyone is in a similar situation, just know that there are people willing to help! | #fypシ #scammed

♬ Vlog Video work Fashionable BGM(847726) – Tsuyoshi_san

Sarah posted an update on TikTok and reported that she had been reimbursed by CommBank.

“My original video did a lot better than I was expecting, it reached quite a large audience, so large in fact that even the higher ups at Commonwealth Bank saw it.”

As “a gesture of goodwill” CommBank reimbursed Sarah with the full amount lost in the scam. Sarah notes in the video:

“Typically in my case they wouldn’t have given me back my money, which kind of also just confirms the fact that the only reason they’re giving it is because of the social media attention.”

After her ordeal, the Australian university student has changed banks.

Banks in Australia have various systems in place to prevent financial crime including internet fraud, phone scams or identity theft. If you area victim of a scam, please contact your bank immediately to report the matter to bank’s fraud and security teams are ready to help. You can also report your scam to SCAMwatch which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. You can also contact IDCARE if you were involved in a scam, data breach, cyber incident or your identity has been compromised.

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