Nov 13, 2023

Aged care worker loses nearly $40k in retirement savings in cyber hack

Screenshot 2023-11-13 084530
The 60-year-old is an aged care worker and cares for her mum. [Source: 9 News]

A carer has received the shock of her life when she checked in on her savings through her bank. 

Rising interest rates prompted aged care worker Marylynne Desveaux, 60, to check her home loan account to find she had lost nearly $40,000 of her retirement savings to a “sophisticated” impersonation hack. 

Cybercriminals hacked into her ING account’s payee contact list and changed the bank details of one of her contacts to a different account. It allowed hackers to make multiple transfers under her friend Graham’s name to a scammer’s account, which allegedly bypassed the bank’s cybersecurity systems and allowed them to take the funds from 16 transactions over five days.

Attempting to transition into retirement, Ms Desveaux – who also cares for her mum – had just built her savings back up after losing her job during the pandemic.

“You can’t just take somebody’s money […] I’d be better off putting it under the mattress,” She told 9 News.

Ms Desveaux said Graham was the only addressee on the list and the last transaction from that account was in 2018. After speaking with Graham, the carer checked the account details and realised they did not match his.

ING was contacted and it closed Ms Desveaux’s accounts. The bank allegedly asked her to have an IT specialist check if she had any malware or viruses on her devices, which came back all-clear.

After this check, Ms Desveaux received correspondence from ING saying it couldn’t recover her funds and was waiting for an investigation to be completed to find out if she would get anything back. An ING employee allegedly told her the bank couldn’t explain how the hackers got in as it was “very sophisticated” and they got in “a different way than they normally would”.

“I don’t know what to do […] I’m trying every avenue possible to try and get back but mentally it’s really affected me and it’s affecting me healthwise because I’ve probably lost three or four kilos just in the last few weeks just stressing about it,” said Ms Desveaux.

She has since reported the hack to police and the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

A spokesperson for ING said it was unable to comment on the incident as the review was still in progress.

“We do know the scams being deployed by criminal gangs are becoming increasingly sophisticated, are targeting multiple industries and are increasing in frequency […] We regularly review and upgrade our security measures to provide our customers a safe and secure banking experience.”

ING customers can call a dedicated scams line on 1800 052 743 and report any scams to local police.

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