An Australian grandmother has been scammed out of nearly $480,000 in a complex fraud scheme after selling her family home.
Jane, a customer of the bank ANZ for nearly five decades, fell victim to the scam under the belief that she was transferring her money into an ING bank account, which promised a high interest rate.
Unfortunately, her funds were transferred to a fake National Australia Bank account that was set up by scammers.
Jane immediately contacted both ANZ and NAB after realizing what had happened, but was informed that her money was unrecoverable.
In Australia, customers are encouraged to report scams to their banks, but there are limited options for recourse.
Unlike the UK, where new laws will soon mandate banks to refund scam victims within days unless negligence or fraud is involved, Australians do not necessarily have a guaranteed entitlement to compensation for losses to scammers.
ANZ eventually agreed to return $636 to Jane but indicated that they could not provide more substantial assistance.
“I used to have ultimate faith in the banking system,” she told 7News.
“But my money would have been safer under my mattress.”
Stephanie Tonkin from the Consumer Law Action Centre said bank impersonation scams have become increasingly complex and common.
“We’ve dropped the ball because we don’t have any form of strict regulation that says who is responsible,” she said.