A friend of mine recently did the unthinkable. Yes, she responded to a text message from “the commonwealth bank” asking her to “update her details.” She’s still kicking herself. But we are all prone to moments of weakness. Here’s what happened next.

After responding to the text and filling out her bank details, she had a moment of doubt. She called a friend and said “should I have done that?” The friend said “absolutely not.” She thought this didn’t bode well but tried to convince herself it would be ok. A day later her phone stopped working. She went into her local telco provider and they told her the phone account had been ported to another user, and apparently with her permission! She couldn’t fathom how this was possible. Without a phone she couldn’t call anyone for advice. The telco provider suggested she go to the bank and make some enquiries about any possible fraud activity.

After visiting the Commonwealth Bank she discovered that $20,000 had been transferred out of her account to an account unknown to her.

Luckily, after a few days of fretting, and some great work on behalf of the Commonwealth Fraud team, they uncovered her money and returned it to her. Her Telco even got her phone reconnected!

So my friend has emerged a little bruised, but financially unhurt from her experience. She asked me to share this story to remind people to always be on your guard when it comes to these types of text messages and emails.

Things to remember:

Your bank or any other financial institution or government organisation (such as the ATO) will never ask you to update your personal details via text or email.

If you are hesitating over whether or not something is legitimate, always call the provider directly and ask them about what you have received.

 

Rose Roberts – Marketing and Communications Manager, West Carr & Harvey