Kiwi doctor’s horror as $51,000 withdrawn from bank account in SMS scam
The doctor immediately reported the scam to his bank’s fraud office and the police, while they tried to figure out what had happened to Baswati’s money.
The next three weeks were horrible.
“I couldn’t sleep,” she said.
She told Newshub that an investigation by her bank found the money had been transferred to an unknown account in Australia, but the bank was only able to recover $123.
Luckily for Baswati, his bank refunded his money in full.
She told Newshub she feels lucky to have a life-comforting salary – but said if she hadn’t she would have struggled.
“I was just thinking people who don’t actually have that security, it’s going to be a very sad situation for them.”
Baswati considers herself a tech savvy and said what happened to her “can happen to anyone”. She told Newshub that the experience left her traumatized.
“I’ve become so careful, I don’t click on anything sent to me now.”
She urges Kiwis to be extra vigilant so as not to find themselves in the same boat as her.
“Do not click on any links, I learned that the hard way… We need to stop these messages – delete them when you receive them.”
Phishing scams are increasing at an ‘alarming rate’
Responding CERT NZ Acting Director Jordan Heersping told Newshub that phishing, also known as “smishing”, had increased at an “alarming rate”.
“Users receive a short message and link. The message will use social engineering triggers of urgency, fear, and opportunity to elicit an illicit response.”
Heersping urges Kiwis to access their bank through regular means instead of clicking on links that arrive via text message.
He added those who receive phishing messages to forward them to the Home Office for free on 7726.
CERT NZ director Rob Pope said phishing was a “major concern”.
“It’s simple to do, from a technical point of view, and it’s a gateway to other types of incidents.”
At the end of 2021, CERT NZ recorded $31.5 million in losses from phishing attacks.
In CERT NZ’s latest cybersecurity insights, it revealed that over 2000 incidents are being reported per quarter with an average loss of $4 million.
CERT NZ advice on phishing attacks:
- Go directly. Type the URL in the address bar or use bookmarks to access websites rather than clicking links in emails or text messages.
- You just have to ask. If you’re unsure about an email or text you’ve received, it’s a good idea to check with the sender via another method like phone or text, or pass in front of a colleague, friend or family member.