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Grafton woman falls for sophisticated scam, then escapes

A SOPHISTICATED scam which claims to be the government refunding "hidden bank fees" has one Grafton woman fearing for less savvy people in the community.

Kailah Hope was called on Friday afternoon by a person claiming to be working for the Federal Government.

"They were really good," Ms Hope said. "I never fall for scams and like to keep scammers on the phone for 20 minutes, but they got me.

"Their story was the government had taken the banks to court to recover hidden transaction fees.

"She said the government had won the case, but the banks were refusing to pay. So they were reimbursing people until they the government recovered the money from the banks.

"She said the government was taking 10% of any money recovered. All I had to do was provide my verification number on the back of the card and I would get the money, less the 10%."

Ms Hope said the scammers gave her an address they were working from, Level 14, 100 Queen St, Melbourne, and said they were with the ANZ Bank.

"They even gave me the first four digits of my account number and two other numbers," Ms Hope said.

"The told me where I lived. All they wanted was the verification number on the back of my card.

"They even said if they were scammers they would have asked for my pin and asked me for money."

Ms Hope said the frightening thing was how much information the scammers seem to have about her and how believable they seems.

"I'm always really sceptical about calls like this," she said. "But they kept reading my details out to me and they were quoting bank policies to me that were straight out of the ANZ policy book.

"They were really persistent, it didn't feel like they were reading off a script or anything like that," she said.

"I'm really worried for other people. If that was my gran she would have totally fallen for it."

Ms Hope said she finally relented and gave out her verification code, but immediately had misgivings.

"I called the bank and they put me onto their scams person," she said.

"I told him what happened and he said straight away it was a scam.

"I've had to take all the money out of my account."

A quick check of the Scamwatch website reveals this scam is a variation of the reclaim scam, where someone claims to be from the government offering funds they have recovered in some way.

Warning signs

  • You receive a contact out of the blue that claims you are eligible to reclaim money.
  • The caller or sender pretends to be from a government department, financial institution or trusted organisation.
  • In order to receive your money, you are asked to pay an upfront fee to cover 'administration fees' or taxes.
  • The scammer will typically ask you to send the money via a money transfer service.
  • You may also be asked to provide personal or financial details.


Information from Scamwatch website

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