Hardworking Teen Loses Life Savings as She Falls for Phone Scam

A hardworking Aussie teenager loses her entire life savings after falling for a sophisticated phone scam.

18-year-old Aurora Casilli, who has been juggling three jobs in a wish to buy her dream home lost $37000 that she had been saving.

It happened in the first week of December when Aurora received a text message from her National Australia Bank – the text was sent from the same number as the bank and even appeared in the same chat as her previous correspondence with NAB.

The text message warned Aurora that someone was trying to access her bank account. So, naturally, in a state of panic, she called the 1800 number given in the text instructions.

This technique is called spoofing. Scammers use it to change their called ID numbers to appear legit.

“I was just at home, about to make breakfast, when the text came through,” the teenager told news.com.au.

“I panicked when I read it. All the money I had saved, and now I thought someone was in my account trying to make an unauthorized transfer.”

She recalled, “The text was from NAB, and was underneath other messages I got from them. It seemed legit to me, so I called the number in a panic. If it was from a random mobile number, I wouldn’t have believed it. But it seemed so real.”

Casilli from Albany, Western Australia, told the outlet that when she called the number provided in the text message, nothing seemed off, and even the music and voice prompts sounded exactly the same as when she called her bank in the past.

She was put on hold for an hour before a professional and polite man with a British accent greeted her. According to Aurora, everything added to the perceived authenticity of the scam.

“He sounded like any normal person working at a bank,” she said.

“You hear things on the news about scammers being from other countries and having broken English or heavy foreign accents. But he was just a man with a British accent that spoke in a professional way. It did not seem suspicious.”

The polite guy told Aurora that someone had tried to gain access to her bank account and she needed to take immediate action in order to save her money.

The teen was then instructed to transfer her entire savings to another NAB account for her financial security.

She said the man claimed that he was setting up an alternative account for her so that she could send her account money to that new bank account.

The teen bought his words and sent over her life savings – an amount of $36,561.37 to the account number given by the scammer.

Seconds after the transaction, the man hung up. It was then that Aurora looked at the BSB and realized the account that she had transferred her money into a Commonwealth bank account instead of NAB.

“I felt sick, I just got this gut feeling that something was terribly wrong,” she said.

“I called back and asked why he wanted me to transfer the money into a Commonwealth account. He hung up again. That’s when it hit home, I’d been scammed.”

Realizing her mistake, she quickly called the Commonwealth bank, but she was informed that the money had already been withdrawn.

“I was on the phone for hours trying to get through to CBA,” said Aurora.

“It was so stressful, and then I’m told there is basically nothing that they could do. Once the funds are taken out, it is too late. I have no idea what happened to my money or what they are doing with it.”

She also contacted NAB for help, and the bank officials looked into the matter.

NAB determined that it was not liable for Aurora’s lost funds as she authorized the transfer.

“The document also stated that NAB did not consider Aurora to be a victim of a scam, as the payments were made with her normal device, and there was nothing to suggest that this occurred due to a failure of the bank,” per new.com.au.

However, the company offered her $3000 as a goodwill gesture, but Aurora declined the offer.

“I just want to raise awareness, so this doesn’t happen to others,” she said. “If it can happen to me, it could happen to anyone. It is so scary what these scammers can do.”

“I do think NAB should be held responsible and have more security measures in place so that their customers do not get scammed.”

“I also think banks in general need an urgent line for people in these situations. If I hadn’t been on hold for hours, maybe I could have gotten my money back,” she added.

“I’m honestly just heartbroken, and I hope nobody else will ever have to go through this.”

NAB also issued a statement following the incident and reminded customers to immediately call the bank’s official phone number given on the back of their card.

“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 should know that their bank will never ask them to transfer money to another account to keep it safe,” the statement read.

Share Your Thoughts:

Have you ever been scammed in your life? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

Source: news.com.au

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