An Australian grandmother has been scammed out of $750,000 in a complex fraud scheme after selling her family home.
CBA Executive General Manager of Payments Ethan Teas says scams are a “really big threat” for small businesses, affecting individuals both financially and emotionally. “On an individual level it’s devastating when a small business is subject to a scam – both financially and also emotionally,” Mr Teas said. “About forty per cent of cyber-attacks are targeting small businesses. “These small businesses are … for the most part better resourced than consumers, it’s an attractive target for the scammer.” In partnership with Commonwealth Bank.
Jane, a customer of ANZ for nearly five decades, fell victim to the scam under the belief that she was transferring her money into an ING account, which promised a high interest rate.
Unfortunately, her funds were transferred to a fake NAB account that was set up by scammers.
Jane immediately contacted both ANZ and NAB after realising 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 $1,000 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.