18-Year-Old Issues Chilling Warning After Losing $25k in Mere Seconds, And It All Started with 1 Text
An 18-year-old woman in Albany, Western Australia, lost over $25,000 after falling prey to a phone scam.
Aurora Casilli worked three jobs and had been saving money since beginning her first job at the age of 14 to purchase a house, the U.K. Daily Mail reported.
“I’m devastated. I’ve worked hard all my life,” she said. “You never think something like this will happen to you.”
“While my friends were going out and buying nice things like makeup and clothes, I was saving. I was saving for my future,” she said. “All those shifts, all the work I put in, and now this.”
According to Casilli, her loss of around $25,000 happened within a matter of seconds.
On Dec. 3, she had received a message from someone pretending to be the National Australia Bank. The text message appeared in the same message thread as other genuine messages she had received from her bank, Daily Mail reported.
The scammer used a technique known as spoofing, where they changed their Caller ID number to deceive their targets into thinking they’re speaking with representatives of legitimate institutions.
“If it was from a random mobile number, I wouldn't have believed it. But it seemed so real,” Casilli told News.com.au.
The text message, according to shared screenshots read: “OTP CODE: Your code for PayID payment to Yasser Khan is 991-122. Do not share this with anyone. If you did not do this, call us on 1800 861 255 immediately!”
The scammer faked an OTP message and included a toll-free number to trick Casilli into calling it after realizing she did not make a PayID payment as the message said.
When Casilli phoned the trickster, he pretended to be a National Australia Bank employee and told her that someone accessed her account without authorization.
“He sounded like any normal person working at a bank,” she said, according to News.com.au.
“You hear things on the news about scammers being from other countries and having broken English or heavy foreign accents.”
“But he was just a man with a British accent that spoke in a professional way. It did not seem suspicious,” she said.
The scammer asked Casilli to transfer her money to a new account that he had made for her.
Trusting his words, she sent around 36,561.37 Australian dollars to the account. She realized later, after the scammer had hung up on her, that she had sent money to a Commonwealth Bank account.
“I felt sick. I just got this gut feeling that something was terribly wrong,” Casilli said.
“I called back and asked why he wanted me to transfer the money into a Commonwealth account. He hung up again. That’s when it hit home, I’d been scammed,” she added.
The National Australian Bank and Commonwealth Bank both said that they cannot be liable for the transfer because it had been authorized by Casilli herself.
“NAB will never ask a customer to confirm, update or disclose personal or banking information via a link in a text message or email. People should know that their bank will never ask them to transfer money to another account to keep it safe,” National Australian Bank’s Executive of Group Investigations and Fraud Chris Sheehan told News.com.au.
“We are always very concerned when we are made of aware of frauds and scams affecting customers and the wider community,” a Commonwealth Bank representative told the outlet.
“I’m honestly just heartbroken, and I hope nobody else will ever have to go through this,” Casilli said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.