Mi Young Lee and her husband Eunsub Jeong fell victim to hackers who pretended to be from the Commonwealth Bank.
Ms Lee received a text message at 6.30am on January 7, purporting to be from the bank.
Mi Young Lee (top left) and her husband Eunsub Jeong (centre) saved $17,000 to buy their first family home but lost their entire life savings through a text message scam
‘*IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM COMMBANK,’ the text read.
‘Miyoung Lee, your NetBank access has been revoked. Proceed to CommBank Mobile below & follow the prompts or call us on 13 2221 (REF: OX315) to restore your access.’
Included in the text was a fraudulent link to a fake Commonwealth Bank Netbank website.
Ms Lee, a mother-of-four, gave her personal details, including her Netbank client number and password.
‘I entered all my information without any doubt. I had no idea what was wrong,’ she told nine.com.au.
Shortly after, Ms Lee received a text message from her mobile phone provider, Vodafone.
‘Your Vodafone postpay account payment of 23.0 was successful,’ the text read.
Following this, another text was sent – this time from Telstra – reading: ‘Thank you for choosing Telstra Pre-Paid. Your transfer is in progress and should be complete within 24 business hrs.’
Suspecting something was wrong, and having never applied for a transfer, Ms Lee rushed to a Vodafone store.
By 1pm, her phone stopped working and Ms Lee was told someone had changed her SIM card to another number.
After getting her mobile back up and running with a replacement SIM, she received an email notification about a bill payment.
‘Someone used my money to pay for his or her travels, about $5,000, and used cardless cash to withdraw $500,’ she explained.
A total of $17,000 was taken from her bank account.
Commonwealth Bank contacted Ms Lee to refund the $17,000 that had been stolen (stock image)
Following the experience, Ms Lee says she now lives each day in a state of anxiety.
On Thursday, Commonwealth Bank contacted Ms Lee to refund the $17,000 that had been stolen.
‘We offer our customers the benefit from our 100 per cent security guarantee against online fraud where they are not at fault,’ a spokeswoman told nine.com.au.
A Vodafone spokeswoman said this was a typical case of SIM swap fraud where fraudsters obtain the personal details of customers in an attempt to perform unauthorised number ports or SIM swaps to gain access to the customer’s bank account.
The Number Portability Code means that a mobile carrier is required to release a number to another carrier if the personal details match and allows customers to quickly and easily change to a new carrier.
HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED
If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be a representative of Telstra and their call relates to a problem with your internet connection, just hang up.
If you have doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a business, organisation or government department, contact the body directly.
Don’t rely on contact details provided by the person – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
Remember that you can still receive scam calls even if you have a private number or have listed your number on the Australian Government’s Do Not Call Register (link is external). Scammers can obtain your number fraudulently or from anywhere it has been publicly listed such as in a phone book.
Don’t let scammers press your buttons – scammers use detailed scripts to convince you that they are the real deal and create a high-pressure situation to make a decision on the spot.
Always keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall. Only buy computer and anti-virus software from a reputable source.
Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
Never give a stranger remote access to your computer, even if they claim to be from a reputable business.
If you think your computer’s security has been compromised, use your security software to run a virus check. If you still have doubts, contact your anti-virus software provider or a computer specialist.
If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.