A man lost more than $16,000 in a matter of seconds after receiving a text message.
Jacob Harris told news.com.au that he never imagined he would be one of those people who would fall victim to a scam.
The 29-year-old from Newcastle, New South Wales, is a well-educated businessman who has worked diligently throughout his adult life to save money for the future.
However, his hard-working nature may have been what made him such an easy target.
In January of this year, I was having another busy day as usual; tons of phone calls, tons of meetings, and tons of tasks to cross off your ‘to do’ list.
It was at this time that Jacob received a very concerning text message from his NAB bank, suggesting that his account had been hacked and compromised.
Regarding the text
He was told to call the number in the text immediately to keep his money safe, and the text appeared legitimate as it came from NAB’s actual number.
“It was a super busy day and my mind was elsewhere when I got that text,” recalled Jacob, who did not want to be photographed.
“It said that there was a large amount of money about to be transferred from my account, and if I had not authorized the transaction to call the number.
“I thought I’d give them a quick call and fix it. It all looked legit as when I scrolled up I could see that NAB had sent other texts in the past from that number.
“I called and they said ‘welcome to National Australia Bank.’ They even put me on hold. I didn’t feel any different than I normally would when I called NAB.
“It wasn’t until later that I found out that they actually say ‘welcome to NAB,’ not the full name.
“The person on the other end of the phone had a British accent and sounded very calm and collected. They explained everything in a very practical way, and he didn’t feel rushed.
“I didn’t suspect anything at the time.”
The man on the phone told her that he was opening an account in her name and that she would need to transfer her savings to secure her account.
Jacob made two transactions over the phone, the first was for $15,550 and the next was for $522.20.
After sending the money, he got a little suspicious and asked the scammer a question to gauge his response.
Have you experienced something similar? Continue the conversation: firstname.lastname@example.org
“He asked me to confirm my details, I thought, wouldn’t he already have everything there?” he said.
“He told me it was to make sure I wasn’t committing fraud. So I asked him: how did I know that he was not a scammer?
“He responded and said ‘well, the text came from NAB, didn’t it?’ and he had, so I thought that must mean it was definitely legit.”
worrying new trend
Although he didn’t realize it at the time, Jacob had been the victim of “spoofing,” a sneaky tactic scammers often use to appear more legitimate to potential victims.
Spoofing a number allows scammers to send text messages or emails posing as another entity, often posing as a large corporation or business.
“My mother was actually the one who noticed first,” Jacob said.
“She was here at the time it all happened, and she asked me if I was sure I was really from NAB after I told her.
“That’s when I googled and realized, oh my gosh, it was a scam. I felt so sick with worry.
“I called NAB less than an hour after transferring the funds, but it was too late. All the money was gone.”
Unfortunately, once the money was transferred, there was nothing NAB could do to get it back.
As a gesture of goodwill, he was offered a one-time compensation of $6,000 earlier this month.
Jacob said he was thankful it wasn’t his life savings, but it was still a significant part of the money he had been putting away for the future.
“I am flabbergasted that it was all gone in an instant,” he added.
“I’m lucky to have a great support system and I’m in a mentally healthy place. For some people, that might be it for their name.
“Others might be suffering from depression or anxiety, and something like this would really make it worse. It could be such a terrible situation.”
He hopes that by sharing his story he can help raise awareness of these types of sophisticated scams and warn others to be more vigilant when it comes to any banking activity.
“I’m a young guy in the scheme of things, and I work in technology,” Jacob said.
“I thought I was very tech-savvy and couldn’t be fooled by something like this. But it just shows you that it can happen to anyone.
“I have noticed that many young people have been victims of these types of scams. People often think that older people are the most vulnerable, but this is not always the case.
“Everyone needs to be aware.
A NAB spokesperson warned that scams are on the rise and are becoming “increasingly sophisticated.”
“While we cannot comment on individual cases, we have seen a significant increase in scams in recent years and know the results can be devastating for the people they impact, both emotionally and financially,” said NAB Executive, Group Investigations. and Fraud. Chris Sheehan said in a statement.
“This is an epidemic of scam and requires the collaboration of government, banking, telecommunications, the online and social media industries, consumer groups and regulators in a Team Australia approach to tackle the problem.
“We carry out a thorough investigation of each case and our team does everything possible to help recover money from customers who have been scammed. Unfortunately, once funds leave an account and are sent to another bank, it is extremely difficult for us to recover them.
“These criminals are becoming more sophisticated and are operating quickly to move stolen funds.”
The bank also confirmed that scammers are using “spoofing” tactics to trick people.
“Scammers can use software that makes the phone number they are calling or texting from appear on your device as belonging to a known organization,” Sheehan said.
“Criminals can send messages with the sender’s name set to ‘NAB’, or any other organization, which means their messages can appear in the same thread as other official texts sent from NAB.
“When a customer receives a text or call impersonating NAB, it means that a criminal has ‘spoofed’ our number and is impersonating us. NAB’s systems have not been breached in any way.
“NAB will never ask a customer to confirm, update, or disclose personal or banking information through a link in a text message or email. People should know that their bank will never ask them to transfer money to another account to keep it safe.
“Your money is safe if it is in your account. Once you move your money to another account, you lose control and it can be very difficult for your bank to get it back for you. Never be pressured by anyone to take your money out of your account.
“Scams impersonating NAB and other well-known brands continue to increase. This is not just an issue for banks and telcos, it is an issue for all public and private organizations to reduce the impact these scams have on Australians.”
NAB added that his organization has taken steps to combat these issues and continues to introduce new security measures.
“NAB has a comprehensive bank-wide strategy that includes about 60 initiatives that are either complete or underway to combat fraud and scams,” Mr. Sheehan revealed.
“We recently announced new measures to prevent criminals from infiltrating bank phone numbers by placing NAB bank phone numbers on the ‘Do Not Originate’ list to help reduce fraudulent calls impersonating phone numbers. of NAB. We’ve also added additional protections to reduce fraudulent messages appearing in legitimate bank text message threads.
“These changes we have recently made have led to a reduction in phishing cases and customer churn and have made it more difficult for the criminals behind the scams, but customers should remain vigilant.
“If anyone believes they have been the victim of a scam or notices any fraudulent activity, please take action and contact your bank immediately.”