"Fraud Department" SCAM - LA

Last updated 11 April 2022

LA took a call from someone who she thought was her bank's fraud department one  evening, alerting her to the likelihood of scammers (!) having access to her bank account and urgent action was required to protect her bank account.  The scammer provided his name, a reference number for the incident and a phone number to call. The scammer then convinced her to install remote access software on her phone including AnyDesk, and then took control of her phone.  SL was then encouraged to check her bank account so she logged in to her Bendigo Bank app while the scammer was remotely accessing her phone, and she was advised that her funds needed to be transferred to a "safe" bank account to prevent them being stolen by the "scammer".  The scammer noted that LA had a $2000 limit on her internet banking and knew that LA would need to call er bank to get the limit increased so they advised her to tell the bank (a story) that the limit needed to be increased so that she could pay money to her son.  Over the next two hours $30,000 was stolen from her bank account by the scammer.  LA called her bank the following morning, ie within 24 hours, only to be advised that the stolen funds were "gone" and she was unlikely to get them back.  Her local branch then advised her to call in to LCC to have the phone checked and remote access apps removed.

LA called in with her daughter-in law and we had a conversation about what had transpired.  I rang her Bendigo branch manager who stated quite firmly that it was LA's fault because she gave up the SMS verification code to the scammer.  LA never saw the verification code and did not here the SMS tone because the scammer had control of her phone and muted both.  The manager refused to confirm how many payments to which bank(s) and stated that she had already spoken to LA's "power of attorney" (one or both of LA's daughters) but she did not know what type of Power of Attorney was in place and was not interested in my observation that the type of Power of Attorney in place was indeed an important element of this conversation.

Key Questions for Bendigo Bank

If you scroll down the page you will see a button marked Banking Securely which includes advice about a range of scam types including telephone hoaxes and scams but only in the context of "if something appears too good to be true, it almost certainly is" which is completely irrelevant when the call comes from the "Fraud Department" of your bank on the pretext of protecting your funds from being stolen.  This advice is locked in the olde worlde scams relating to mail-order brides and overseas lottery wins and inheritances.  Scammers have moved on and left all banks in their wake, at the expense of all bank customers who will be blamed because a) they gave up the SMS code and b) if only the customer had read all of the scam information on the bank's website plus all of the scam information on Scamwatch....

On the bright side, LA's son, RA, has the same view that I have formed over more than 60 scam investigations by LCC, and this is only his first one!  He is asking the same questions of Bendigo Bank that I have asked and getting pretty much the same result.  When he called in to the Bendigo Bank branch to pick up a statement of his mother's bank account from which the money was stolen, the branch refused to give him the statement even though his mother LA was with him in the branch and they insisted on delivering the statement to her house later in the day.  And this after the branch manager refused to tell me, while LA was with me on speakerphone in my office, what payments were made to which bank.  It's like Bendigo Bank does not want anyone, including their customer, to know what really happened.  We are about to find out....