A Sydney man has been left ‘devastated’ after cruel scammers tricked him into providing personal details that allowed them to steal almost $50,000.
Gerald Chin, 41, had been planning to take his elderly parents on a trip to the United States this Christmas before he was scammed out of $49,000.
Mr Chin had received what he thought was an innocent text message from HSBC asking that he give them a call on the evening of November 29.
The text message appeared in the same thread as legitimate text messages from the bank, making him think it was not a scam.
Gerald Chin, 41, had been planning to take his elderly parents on a trip to the United States this Christmas before he was scammed out of $49,000
The text message appeared in the same message thread as legitimate text messages from the bank, which made him think it was not a scam (pictured is the text)
After dialling the number from the text message, he conversed with a scammer named Adrian, who spoke with a British accent. During the phone call, he was asked to provide his username and personal details so his identity could be verified.
Mr Chin was told someone in Perth had attempted to hack into his account and transfer $49,000 but that the HSBC fraud team had blocked it.
Adrian then suggested he lock his account to prevent any further hacking attempts and asked him to provide bank codes from his phone.
Mr Chin initially thought the phone call had been legitimate, as he hadn’t received notifications that funds were being transferred out of his account.
However, when the scammer called back the following day – once again asking him to provide bank codes – it suddenly clicked.
By the time Mr Chin called his bank, $49,000 had disappeared from his account.
He has been left ‘traumatised’ by the elaborate scam and struggles to sleep at night now his personal information is known by scammers.
Mr Chin planned to take his elderly parents on an all-expenses paid trip to the United States to surprise his younger brother over the festive period.
‘I am also not sure whether I will have another opportunity as this whole incident has set me back for a few years,’ he told 7News.
‘I’m devastated and gutted realising I have been scammed as it took a long time to save up that money and the financial stress has kicked in now knowing that I will be struggling to make payments for my mortgage and bills.’
The HSBC customer says he has been left ‘traumatised’ by the elaborate scam and struggles to sleep at night now his personal information is known by scammers
A mock up of the scam text messages sent to business owner Paul Tefry earlier this year
Mr Chin is now working with the fraud team at HSBC Bank to try to recover his money; however, there is no guarantee he will be reimbursed.
He believes there should be more safeguards in place to protect bank customers from being swindled by clever scammers.
‘What infuriated me was that there weren’t any transaction notifications sent to my mobile or email, which could have prompted me to act quicker, considering it’s a fairly large amount of money,’ he said.
In a statement, a HSBC spokesperson said they could not speak to a specific case due to privacy but said it takes customer security ‘very seriously’.
‘We thoroughly investigate any reported cases of scam or fraud,’ they said.
‘We advise customers to ignore any requests for their confidential information such as PINs, log-in passwords or verification codes through phone calls, emails or SMS messages.’
In June, an ANZ bank customer was swindled out of $130,000 in just five minutes after he was contacted by a scammer with a British accent.
The fake text from the scammers told Paul his ANZ account had been compromised and appeared in the same chat as other legitimate messages from the bank
Paul Tefry received a text message he believed was from his bank saying his account had been compromised and that he needed to transfer his money.
Over the next four days, Mr Trefry transferred $130,000 to the new ‘safer’ account which the scammers ran.
ANZ Bank contacted him a week later to let him know he had been scammed.
‘They asked me about a transfer of $17,500 into an account, and I said, ‘well, guys, I’m just following your instructions,’ and they said, ‘no, we wouldn’t instruct you to transfer money into different accounts’.
‘…He (the ANZ rep) said, ‘look, it’s a really elaborate scam which these guys have been doing, and they copy ANZ’s protocol to a tee, unfortunately, there’s not gonna be a great deal we can do for you’.’
ANZ recovered some of the money, but Mr Trefry is still $85,000 out of pocket.