Scam 1 - So called 'Friend'

We were recently contacted by another bank (a customer owned bank like us) regarding a payment one of our customer's had sent to a bank account with them.  This account had been identified by the other bank as potentially fraudulent, they suggested we check the payment.

When we contacted our customer, she advised that she had recevied an email from a 'friend' of hers about a sure fire investment and decided to join as well.  She had made the payment and was grateful for the tip from her 'friend'.

Prompted by our question of the payment, she rang her friend - who knew nothing of the email or the investment - someone had hacked her email and was pretending to be her.

There was a happy ending to this story - we were able to recover her money (over $1,000) and she is now a bit more sceptical about sure fire investments.


Scam 2 - Dodgy Technician

One of our customers (we'll call him Joe) visited the branch to do a cash withdrawal of $9,900.  Prior to processing this transaction for Joe we queried what the funds were being used for.  Joe advised that it was to pay for "tradies" over the weekend.  Later that afternoon, Joe gave us a call to let us know he might have been scammed and then told us the real story of why he needed such a large amount of cash.

The story goes Joe had received a phone call, supposedly from the NBN, and was convinced to let caller remotely log in to his computer, and going as far as logging into his internet banking.  The caller told him there was problems with his system and that he needed to replace the modem, but because he was such a good customer it would be done for free - he would see a credit of $99 in his account to cover the cost.  The call ended.  Within a few minutes, Joe received a panicked phone call from the supposed NBN caller, advising he had transferred $9,900 into his account instead of $99 and he was going to be in big trouble.  The caller advised Joe to help him fix the mistake by withdrawing cash from his bank account that the refund was deposited and put the cash into his boss's bank account.

The caller even told Joe what to say if the bank asks any questions -
"say you are paying for 'tradies' over the weekend".

Joe had taken the cash to another bank and deposited in into the boss's account.  With this information we contacted the other financial institution (boss's bank) and tried to recover the funds for Joe after he failed to do so himself.  We were unsuccessful.  The money was gone with no chance of recovery.


Be Aware of Who You Are Dealing With

  • With Christmas here, there will be more scams like this and new ones, maybe masquerading as Christmas appeals or a charity.  Australians are a generous bunch; make sure you know who you are talking to and take some time to check.  Charities have public websites and legitimate ways you can donate - so go through the right channels.
  • Always identify who you are dealing with particularly if they are after sensitive information about your identity or banking details.  Cairns Bank does contact customers from time to time to confirm that a transaction is legitimate but we will never ask you to to confirm your account details by via email or SMS.  Government departments are the same.
  • If you receive a call out of the blue requesting your personal details or remote accessing your computer just hang-up and do not engage with the caller on the other end -  you don't really know who it is.
  • If you have someone coaching you on what to say if your bank queries the transaction it's a pretty sure sign that you are being scammed - don't risk it.

Oh, and by the way, if we ask you some questions about transaction you are doing or have processed, please don't be offended - we are only trying to confirm that the transaction is legitimate.  We want to help you the best way we know how and help protect you from scams.