Mother-of-four Storm Tait was juggling sick kids and the family business when she received a text from Medicare.
The message was about a school COVID kit and claimed to require a delivery fee of about $1. Tait thought nothing of it.
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“I put in my card details and then my brother messaged me and said don’t click on it – it’s a scam message,” she told 7NEWS.
But it was too late.
A week later another message appeared in her National Australia Bank text thread about the scam. Then she received a call from a NAB-listed number that her account had been hacked.
“He’d already seen customers losing funds this way, so immediately I panicked thinking, ‘Oh God, I went onto that website’,” she said.
The Perth mother was convinced by the caller that she needed three new accounts to trick the scammers.
She was then told to move her money in $19,000 transfers.
Tait had no clue it was all part of the act.
Now, the family has lost its life savings – $60,000 gone. The family business can barely operate.
“I play this over in my mind so many times, I just don’t know how I didn’t think, ‘this is not correct’,” Tait said.
“She’s traumatised from it, she’s got anxiety from it,” her husband David added.
The Taits are your average Perth household – a house, kids and a small family business. They’re aware of scams, but never thought they’d lose their life savings to one.
NAB has only recovered $74 dollars.
“Once the funds have left a victim’s account, it can often be difficult to recover them due to the sophistication of these criminals,” Chris Sheehan, from NAB Executive Group Investigations and Fraud, said.
But one check from the bank may have stopped it.
Consumer Protection WA Commissioner Gary Newcombe told 7NEWS that banks should require matching of BSB and account names – something that is done in the UK.
“These types of scams are run by criminal activity, they’re very sophisticated, very well organised.”
NAB is re-investigating the case but says it will never ask a customer to transfer money to another account to keep it safe.
Consumer Protection urges anyone who gets a phone call from someone claiming to be from a bank to first ask for the person’s name and position and where they work.
Then hang up and call the organisation’s publicly listed phone number, not one given to you, and ask for that person.