An aged care worker has been dealt a devastating blow after scammers stole nearly $40,000 of her retirement savings in a sophisticated impersonation hack.
Marylynne Desveaux, 60, was targeted by cyber criminals who were able to gain access to her ING bank account and change the bank details of one of her contacts to a different account.
The hackers were then able to make 16 transfers under her friend Graham’s name to a scammer’s account over a period of five days.
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She quickly called her friend Graham to see if he had received money from her account. They checked the account details and realised they weren’t Graham’s.
Desveaux then contacted ING, who locked her accounts and said they were unable to recover her funds.
It is unclear how hackers managed to gain access to her account, with an IT specialist finding no signs of malware or viruses on her devices.
Desveaux had just built her savings back up after losing her job during the pandemic.
She said she hadn’t slept for two weeks.
"I don't know what to do,” she told 9news.com.au, noting she had reported the hack to police and the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
"I'm trying every avenue possible to try and get back but, mentally, it's really affected me. And it's affecting me healthwise because I've probably lost three or four kilos just in the last few weeks just stressing about it."
An ING spokesperson said an investigation was still ongoing and they were unable to comment on the individual case.
They noted scams were becoming “increasingly sophisticated”, as well as “increasing in frequency”.
ING recommends customers hang up if they receive a suspicious call and contact a company’s official number to confirm it is genuine.
It also tells customers to never click on suspicious SMS or email links, and to never share their personal details over the phone, including their PIN, mobile security codes or passwords.