An Australian grandmother has been scammed out of $750,000 after she sold her house as part of an elaborate scheme.
Jane, who has been a customer with ANZ Bank for nearly 50 years, was informed she is unlikely to recover most of the scammed funds.
The scammers informed her that she was sending the money to an ING account, where she believed she would receive a higher interest rate.
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ANZ unable to recover lost funds from scammers
Sadly, the money was instead transferred to a fake NAB account set up by the scammers.
In an effort to recover her lost funds, Jane called ANZ and NAB, but they told her the $750,000 was unrecoverable and there wasn’t much they could do to help.
Eventually, ANZ agreed to return $1,000 to the grandmother, indicating they could not recover anything more than that.
Jane was devastated by the outcome, telling 7News she “used to have ultimate faith in the banking system.”
“But my money would have been safer under my mattress.”
Her daughter, Sarah, said she “felt awful” about the scam and the bank’s response.
“You feel that lump in your throat … to realise that my mum had been a victim of such a massive crime,” she said.
Australia lost a record $3.1 billion to scams in 2022
Australian banking customers are encouraged to report if they have fallen victim to a scam.
Sadly, despite this push, banks cannot guarantee anything can be done about stolen funds.
Australia is trailing behind other countries that have implemented safeguards for those who have fallen victim to a scam.
According to a report from the ACCC, Australians have lost a record $3.1 billion to scams in 2022, leading to a push to introduce similar laws as the UK.
The UK’s Payment Systems Regulator recently passed laws to reimburse citizens if they have had funds stolen from their accounts, usually in a matter of days.
The new UK law will come into effect next year.
Stephanie Tonkin, CEO of the Consumer Law Action Centre, said bank impersonation scams have become increasingly common and more complex, therefore better at convincing people to part with their cash.
“We’ve dropped the ball because we don’t have any form of strict regulation that says who is responsible,” she said.