$45k stolen in phone porting scam

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$45k stolen in phone porting scam
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Problem solved?

As is standard practice for online banking fraud in Australia, the Commonwealth Bank has absorbed the hit for its customer and put $45,000 back into Craig's account.

A NSW Police detective contacted Craig on September 15 to ensure the bank had followed through with its promise to reinstate the $45,000. With this condition satisfied, the case was suspended on September 29 pending the bank asking the police to proceed with the matter any further.

One local police investigator told SC that in his long career, a bank has only asked for a suspended online fraud case to be investigated once. The vast majority of cases remain suspended. Further, SC Magazine was told that the police would, in any case, have to weigh up whether it has the adequate resources to investigate frauds involving such small amounts of money.

No attempt was made at a local police level to escalate the Craig matter to the NSW Police Fraud and Cybercrime squad, for the same reasons.

But the Commonwealth Bank claims it has forwarded evidence to the NSW and Federal Police forces that could have been used to prosecute the offenders.

The bank’s fraud squad – which had identified the suspect transactions within minutes of the fraud being committed - was able to track down where the criminals spent the stolen money.

A spokesman for the bank said it “dealt with both Federal and State (NSW) Police regarding the incident” and that “both authorities were advised on the availability of CCTV footage” of the offenders spending their ill-gotten gains.

“The Bank was advised by one of the authorities that the offender had left the country – reducing the likelihood of further action by that authority,” the spokesperson said. 

Remedy

Craig is satisfied that CommBank has done everything it can to resolve his specific matter, and he applauded the work of the bank's fraud squad.

But he is naturally concerned at the sophistication of the attack on an ordinary citizen.

In the two years since the banks and the DBCDE approached the Communications Alliance to attempt to plug gaps in the system, the requirements for verifying a customer’s identity haven’t changed.

Craig recommends other Australians call their mobile network provider and request that additional security questions be asked before their number can be ported.

The phone numbers for mobile portability at each of the telcos is listed below.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM MOBILE PORTING SCAMS

Call your mobile phone provider on the phone numbers below and insist on additional security questions being added to your account before the number can be ported.

Telstra - 1800 303 302
Optus - 1800 780 219
Vodafone - 1300 130 741
Virgin Mobile - 1300 555 100

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