Aged care worker loses $40,000 to scammers

An aged care worker preparing to transition into retirement has been left in limbo after ‘sophisticated’ scammers stole nearly $40,000 of her savings.

Melbourne woman, Marylynne Desveaux, 60, was the victim of an impersonation scam that allowed the fraudsters access to her ING bank account in October.

They managed to gain access to her ING account’s payee contact list and change the bank details of one of her contacts to a different account. 

They made up to 16 transfers under her friend Graham’s name to a scammer’s account over a five-day period draining tens of thousands of dollars.

Ms Desveaux is the latest Aussie to be hit by fraudsters who are using more sophisticated methods to trick both banks and customers.

An aged care worker preparing for retirement, Marylynne Desveaux (left), has been scammed of $40,000 of her savings after scammers gained access to her bank account

She only noticed the abnormal transactions while checking her home loan account after the RBA increasing the cash rate for the 13th time in 18 months on Tuesday.

Ms Desveaux called Graham shortly after finding the transactions, asking if he had received money from her as that’s what her transactions showed.

However, they both realised that something was horribly wrong once her and Graham realised the bank details under Graham’s name were wrong.  

She quickly notified ING who were able to lock her accounts but were unable to recover any of her funds.

The money was going to be a used to help Ms Desveaux to retire after she lost her job throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and turned to work in aged care.

‘I haven’t slept for two weeks since all of this has been going on… I don’t know what to do,’ Ms Desveaux told 9News.

‘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.’ 

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

While unable to comment on individual cases, an ING spokesman ensured the bank ‘thoroughly investigate’ every reported scam and ‘attempt to recover the money where possible’.

‘We do know the scams being deployed by criminal gangs are becoming increasingly sophisticated, are targeting multiple industries and are increasing in frequency,’ he said.

The fraudsters changed the bank details of a friend of hers, Graham, to their chosen bank account and over the course of five days drained her account (pictured)

Her bank, ING, were able to lock her accounts and stop the scammers from taking more money but were unable to recover any of her funds (pictured)

‘We regularly review and upgrade our security measures to provide our customers a safe and secure banking experience.

‘We are also committed to educating our customers on the different types of scams and how they can protect themselves.’

ING customers who believe they have been scammed have been urged to call their  dedicated scams line on 1800 052 743.

Impersonation scams are understood to be a widespread issue across the Australian banking scene, with 14,603 reports to the ACCC in just 2022. 

‘We are incredibly concerned about bank impersonation scams because they can be so convincing, they are very hard to detect,’ ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said in March.

‘What’s equally worrying about this particular scam, is that it is emptying every last cent out of victims’ savings accounts, with losses averaging $22,000 and more than 90 reports of losses between $40,000 and $800,000. This causes both financial and emotional devastation.’

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