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Real Stories - Telephone Scams & Mail Fraud

Real Stories - Telephone Scams & Mail Fraud

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Bank impersonation

Susan got a call from someone claiming to be from her bank. He asked many questions and convinced her to transfer her savings to a 'safe' account for protection.  This person mentioned that there had been recent weekly money withdrawals taken from her account. This alarmed Susan, as she hadn't withdrawn any money for years. She wondered if her account was compromised.

The caller, claiming to be from the bank's head office, told Susan that her account needed to be secured and to withdraw a large amount and wire it to a 'safe' account via her post office. He instructed her to tell her bank the money was for a relative's wedding. He assured her it was temporary, and her money would be returned after her account was secured.

Thankfully when Susan arrived at her branch, she was asked a series of questions as to why she was taking such a large sum out for a family wedding. Her teller asked her if there was anything Susan would like to share as it was quite a large sum. She also was informed of a number of scams that had taken place where fraudsters posed as banks on the phone. Susan grew suspicious and told the teller about the advice she received on the phone from the bank's 'head office'.

Susan's local teller informed her that no head office of any bank would advise a customer to lie to local branch staff or to cash savings into another off-site account in such a manner.  The teller explained how people have been targeted and lost large amounts of savings – with no ability to recoup them – as they had taken the money out themselves, and consciously authorized transactions. Susan was embarrassed she had almost fallen for it and on thinking back really should have known a bank would never ask a customer to complete such a transaction.

Fraudsters are creative and resourceful – there is no shame in being deceived. Don't be embarrassed to report a scam; by doing so you will make it more difficult for fraudsters to deceive someone else.

Avoid this type of scam

  • See if the phone number is in fact your bank by calling them back remembering to phone the bank’s number as detailed on your debit/credit card.
  • Look to see if it is true that your account is missing money as Susan was told.
  • Check that the individual works at the bank or credit union by taking their name and details.
  • If you are in any way concerned please contact your Bank or Credit Union.
  • Call the number on your debit/credit card, make sure you hear a dial tone if calling from a landline or call from your mobile phone and tell them about your recent contact.
  • Contact your local police and report the incident.
  • Don't transfer money out of your account unless you are doing so of your own accord and not being instructed to do so by a 'caller'. Once your money leaves your account it is gone…

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