Chicago — A Western Australia teen was scammed out of $25,000 after sending the money to what she thought was her bank. Similar incidents have increasingly happened to other Gen Z over the last six months.
In December, 18-year-old Aurora Casilli from Albany, New York received a text message, which appeared to be from the National Australian Bank, claiming that someone with a name she didn’t recognize was attempting to make a transfer from her account, according to the New York Post.
The text urged her to call their 1-800 number if she had not authorized the payment. Casilli said when she got the text, she panicked and dialed the number, convinced the text message was legit.
“All the money I had saved, and now I thought someone was in my account trying to make an unauthorized transfer,” she told the New York Post. “The text was from NAB, (National Australia Bank) and was underneath other messages I got from them. It seemed legit to me, so I called the number in a panic. If it was from a random mobile number, I wouldn’t have believed it. But it seemed so real.”
When she dialed the number for help, she claims the music and voice prompts were the same as when she called her bank in the past. She was then told to transfer the entirety of her savings into another NAB account in her name, which someone was supposedly setting up for her during their phone call. Seconds after confirming the transfer, the scammer hung up. She later realized the account transferred her savings into a Commonwealth Bank account rather than a NAB account.
“I felt sick, I just got this feeling that something was terribly wrong,” she said. “I called back, and asked why he wanted me to transfer the money into a Commonwealth account. That's' when it hit home, I’d been scammed.”
Chris Sheehan, from the NAB’s Executive Group Investigations and Fraud, told the Post the bank was unable to comment on the case but stressed the importance of keeping an eye out for scammers.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in scams in recent years and it’s upsetting to see the devastating effects these can have,” he said. “The prevalence of scams highlights they’re a society-wide issue and we all have a role to play in taking action, driving education and raising awareness.”
Sheehan said scammers are able to use software that makes the phone number they’re calling or texting from appear on devices belonging to organizations like banks, tax offices and police departments.
“When a customer receives a text message or call impersonating NAB, it means a criminal has ‘spoofed’ our number and is impersonating us. NAB’s systems have not been breached in any way,” he said.