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Westpac customer loses $32,000 in sophisticated scam: ‘Every cent gone’

A single-income family is now struggling to pay bills after being fleeced out of $32,000 in a matter of hours.

A Perth family who lost thousands of dollars in a sophisticated phone scam have slammed Westpac for not doing enough to help them.

Mum of three Denise* received a no-caller-ID phone call on Monday afternoon and was told there had been a fraudulent transaction made in New Zealand on her husband’s account.

Her husband then received a phone call and was bombarded with text messages from Westpac containing SMS verification codes. He then handed the codes over on the phone, believing he was speaking to someone from the bank.

Composite image of Westpac customer and Westpac sign.
An Aussie family has lashed out at Westpac after their bank account was drained by scammers. (Source: 9News/Getty)

Have you fallen victim to a scammer? Contact tamika.seeto@yahooinc.com

Within a matter of hours, the family had been scammed out of $32,000 from 22 cash withdrawals made in the United Kingdom.

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"They were able to give him his date of birth and all of his details, sort of establishing their credibility and gaining his trust," Denise told 9News.

While her husband was speaking with the scammers, Denise said she called Westpac to confirm everything was “legit”.

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"The woman I spoke to said, ‘I can see your accounts have been frozen, so yes, it all looks above board’," Denise said.

After realising they had been scammed, Denise went to Westpac and was told it would take 45 business days for the bank to look into.

Denise said this wasn’t good enough.

Image of Westpac SMS text messages which were used in a scam.
Denise's husband was bombarded with SMS text messages while on the phone with the scammer. (Source: 9News)

"You're dealing with human beings, you're dealing with children, you're dealing with a family,” she told 9News.

“I explained to the kids that your money is safer in a bank than in a piggy bank at home. Every cent of that is now gone.”

Westpac told 9News it was investigating the matter and took the protection of customers’ data seriously.

‘Hang up’

Westpac’s website tells customers they can keep safe from phone scams by:

  • Hanging up on unsolicited callers

  • Keeping all access codes secret and secure. Westpac says it will never ask for this information over the phone or via email

  • Asking for a reference number if you are unsure and calling back on a trusted number to confirm the call is genuine

  • Never giving a stranger remote access to your computer

  • Keeping your computer protected by running and updating security software from trusted sources

  • Contacting Westpac immediately on 132 032 if you think you’ve fallen for a scam

* Name has been changed for privacy reasons.

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