People are being warned to be on high alert for scammers after a woman lost more than $46,000 to an organised overseas scamming network, who secretly gained access to her computer and bank accounts.
Police said that earlier this month, the 74-year-old from Melbourne received a call from an overseas scammer who claimed to work for a major Telco.
“An unknown man told the woman that she had been the victim of a scam and in order to help fix the issue he would transfer her to speak with the company’s management team,” police said.
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“While speaking to the victim, the offenders then gained remote access to the woman’s computer and online banking.
“They told the woman they had deposited money into her account to ‘help fix her security’ and requested that she withdraw that money and send it via MoneyGram to various bank accounts in India.
“The offenders also requested the victim withdraw cash, purchase iTunes gift cards and relay the gift card codes over the phone in order to ‘fix her security problem’.
“Under the scammers’ direction, the victim purchased more than 330 iTunes gift cards from major supermarkets and retail outlets.
Senior Constable Cameron Mitchell said it was a cruel, targeted attack which took place over seven days.
“The offenders made transfers of cash between the victim’s three bank accounts in order to confuse her and make it look like the balance of her account was increasing,” Det Sen Const Mitchell said.
“The victim believed she was transferring the telco’s money to the overseas accounts when in fact it was her own.
“It has been a traumatic experience for the victim and there is a message everyone can take from this.”
People are being urged to report any scams of this nature to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) at www.acorn.gov.au and to ensure they do not buy any vouchers.