Jun 22, 2022

New warning after Adelaide couple fall victim to text message scam and lose $7K

New flubot scam warning

The types of messages being sent to the public are constantly evolving as scammers concoct news ways to deceive the public, a spokesperson for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission told 9News.

In 2020, at the start of the pandemic, Gayle suffered a stroke and ended up spending three months in hospital.

When the 65-year-old went to get a blood test in April this year, she looked out carefully for notification of the results.

A few days after she took the test, Gayle received a text message telling her she had a voicemail from her doctor and asking her to click on a link to hear it.

“My wife thought she had better listen to the voicemail, because it might be something serious,” James told 9News.

Initially when Gayle clicked on the link nothing happened. But the next day, Gayle began receiving “strange” phone calls.

The calls were “people saying, ‘Oh, you rang me? What did you want?'” James said.

“Then she was getting messages with all sorts of superlatives in them.”

It didn’t take long for the couple to realise the calls were connected with Gayle clicking on the message link.

The next day Gayle noticed the balance on a Commonwealth Bank loan account had decreased from $18,000 to $11,000 – two withdrawals worth $7,000 in total had been made.

The couple rang the bank immediately and the account was blocked. But after investigating the transactions, the Commonwealth Bank told the couple it would not refund the money.

While the Commonwealth Bank offers a “100% security guarantee from unauthorised transactions on personal and business accounts” it comes with the condition that customers do all they can to stay safe online.

Where customers are found to have contributed to the financial loss, such as by clicking on a link, the guarantee does not apply, 9News reported.

James said he and his wife are “devastated” by the decision, which means they will no longer be able to undertake planned renovations to their home.

A Commonwealth Bank spokesperson told 9news.com.au, “Customers need to remain vigilant, protect their banking details and be smart about who they send money to.”

The ACCC received 14,466 reports of flubot text messages in the first five months of this year. However, a spokesperson for the ACCC told 9News an international police operation involving 11 countries, including Australia, appears to have stopped flubot scams in Australia and overseas.

Unfortunately, the police operation comes too late for Gayle and James Arnott.

Have you or someone you know been a target of a flubot scam? Share your story in the comments. 

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  1. Perhaps don’t admit to clicking on any links .play dumb as far the bank goes. Then again they probably thought they were helping their case by admitting to receiving / and clicking on the link..

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