Aussie loses $50k after Bank scam text


A Sydney man has been left “traumatised” after he was scammed out of $50,000 for falling for what appeared to be an innocent text from his bank.

Gerald Chin, 41, first received a text he believed was from HSBC Australia, asking him to call them on the night of Wednesday, November 29.

“You have signed in from another mobile. If this was NOT you call us,” the message, obtained by 7Newsread.

According to the outlet, the text appeared in the same thread Mr Chin had received previously from his bank, leading him to believe it was a legitimate message.

After calling, he was asked to provide his personal details and username for verification purposes.

He was then informed by the hacker, pretending to be from the bank, that another device thousands of kilometres away in Perth had logged into his account and their fraud team had spotted attempts to transfer $49,000 of his money.

He had saved up the money to take his parents overseas for Christmas.

To solve the issue, the hacker, who spoke with an English accent, suggested that Mr Chin lock his account and asked him to provide bank codes from his phone.

“The scammer later concluded the call by telling me they will get back to me once they have finished their investigation,” Mr Chin told 7News.

The 41-year old believed the matter had been dealt with but the scammer later contacted him again asking for more bank codes, setting off alarm bells.

Concerned, Mr Chin immediately rung the HSBC helpline only to be told his account had been pillaged.

who had saved up money to take his parents overseas for Christmas,

“I’m devastated and gutted realising I have been scammed as it took a long time to save up that money and the financial stress has kicked in now knowing that I will be struggling to make payments for my mortgage and bills,” he said.

“Traumatised” by the ordeal, Mr Chin said he is unable to work and sleep knowing his personal information is in the hands of scammers.

The stolen money has also set him back “a few years” and he is no longer able to afford to take his aged parents to the US to see his brother for Christmas.

“It’s now a heart-wrenching situation knowing that I won’t be able to afford this, and I’m not sure what to tell them now as I do not want my parents to worry about me.”

In the meantime, Mr Chin has been left to wait while his case is subject to a fraud investigation which could take weeks.

When he spoke to HSBC, he said he was told that other banks had been the target of data breaches in recent months, suggesting the bank “deflected” the blame.

“I felt there hasn’t been much seriousness and responsiveness taken by HSBC to introduce safeguards to their system and provide transparency about the recurring scam issues,” he said.

A HSBC spokesperson told news.com.au they are unable to comment on individual cases, however they assured they “thoroughly investigate any reported cases of scam or fraud”.

“HSBC takes customer security very seriously,” they said.

“We advise customers to ignore any requests for their confidential information such as PINs, log-in passwords or verification codes through phone calls, emails or SMS messages.”

Aussies have lost a staggering $92 million to scams this year, – $11 million to bank impersonation scams alone – according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

“Scammers deliberately put their victims under pressure and make them feel like they need to act quickly, such as making claims there has been suspicious activity on their bank account. Don’t rush to act. Take a moment to consider if it could be a scam,” ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said in a statement.

It comes as Westpac has issued a warning to be extra careful around buying and selling scams this festive season, which are up a whopping 47 per cent compared with last year.

These scams are often advertised through fake websites, social media ads and online market places and offer cheap prices to consumers looking to purchase presents for loved ones this Christmas.

“Scammers often target customers at this time of year when people are spending more and can sometimes be a bit more distracted,” Westpac’s head of fraud Ben Young told NCA Newswire.

“To put this into perspective, Westpac facilitated more than 31 million point-of-sale transactions during the recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, leading to a 5 per cent increase in fraud-related calls.”

He suggested always calling “a business or supplier to independently confirm if payment details are accurate before sending any money, never click on links sent via SMS or email and be cautious about anyone who instructs you to urgently download an app or install a program onto your mobile or computer.”

– With NCA Newswire

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