In May 2023, Glenys received a call from a person saying he was calling from her bank. He said the bank had noticed two overseas transactions on her credit card. Glenys had not made the transactions, and was very worried to hear that fraud had occurred on her card. The caller asked her to send a photo of her card, so the bank could check whether the transactions were in fact on her card. He also asked her to download some remote access software to her phone so the bank could further check there were no other fraudulent transactions. Glenys was told to leave her phone running while they carried out their checks.
While the phone was running, Glenys’ daughter came home. After looking at Glenys’ phone, she thought her mother was being scammed. Unfortunately, she was right. The caller was not from the bank; he was a fraudster. He used the remote access software to get into Glenys’ bank account and transfer some of her money out. The fraudster could also see her other financial products.
Glenys phoned her bank, who immediately froze all her bank facilities. However, it was too late to stop the fraudster making transactions on her two Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) facilities.
The bank agreed to refund the loss from her bank account, and one of the BNPL firms agreed that Glenys did not have to repay them for the transactions the fraudster had made. However, the other BNPL firm required Glenys to repay $300 the fraudster had used to buy gift cards. Their view was that Glenys had given the fraudster access to information she shouldn’t have, and therefore they shouldn’t have to bear the loss.
As Glenys was not able to resolve the complaint with the BNPL firm, she complained to FSCL.
Glenys felt it was unfair for the BNPL firm to say she had given the fraudster information. She said the fraudster was very persuasive, and she believed she was talking to the bank. Glenys did not think she had “given” the fraudster anything, saying there is a difference between “giving” someone something and being scammed.
The BNPL firm initially said they should not have to bear the loss. However, shortly afterwards, they decided to waive the amount on her account on a “goodwill basis”. Glenys accepted this, and the case was closed.
Insights for consumers
FSCL has received multiple similar complaints this year. We understand the fraudsters are very persuasive and that it can be very difficult to identify that a caller is a scammer.
Consumers should be extremely cautious with phone calls they are not expecting, where they are asked to disclose or allow access to personal or financial information.
We note it can be very dangerous to allow a download of remote access software to a customer’s device. The scammer may be able to access all the customer’s financial and other data. Further, banks will not ask customers to send photos of their cards.