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Australia news: Scammers target stroke victim with a text message claiming to be from her doctor

An elderly stroke victim was scammed out of $7,000 after receiving a text message claiming to have a voicemail from her doctor.

Gayle Arnott spent three months in hospital during the pandemic after a brain hemorrhage and stroke hospitalized the 65-year-old in 2020. He died and had to be resurrected three times.

The resident of Peterborough in regional South Australia went for a regular blood test in April this year and consulted her doctor, before receiving a text message a few days later saying she had a voicemail from her specialist in a link.

After clicking the link in the message, Gayle received dozens of phone calls over the next several days, before discovering that $7k was missing from her account account.

“My wife thought she’d better listen to the voicemail because it could be something serious,” her husband told James. Nine

“It came as a shock, her health anxiety. She died of me three times while in the hospital. So if there is something medically wrong, we treat it as urgent.’

An elderly stroke victim was scammed out of $7,000 after receiving a text message claiming to have a voicemail from her doctor

An elderly stroke victim was scammed out of $7,000 after receiving a text message claiming to have a voicemail from her doctor

Nothing happened immediately after clicking the link that claimed to have the voicemail, but the next day Gayle and James got some angry phone calls.

“They were strange calls, with people saying, ‘Oh, did you call me? What did you want?” said James.

‘Then she got messages with all kinds of superlatives in them. Then we realized it had to be by tapping that link.”

The couple had recently taken out a home improvement loan worth $18,000 — and were shocked to find the balance had fallen to $11,000 after the bombardment of phone calls.

“We immediately called the bank and told them and they blocked the account,” James said.

After clicking the link in the message, Gayle received dozens of phone calls over the next several days, before discovering that $7k was missing from her account (stock image)

After clicking the link in the message, Gayle received dozens of phone calls over the next several days, before discovering that $7k was missing from her account (stock image)

Two different withdrawals had been made to her Commonwealth bank account – but shockingly, the giant refused to refund the older woman’s money.

The bank promises a “100 percent security guarantee against unauthorized transactions on personal and business accounts,” as long as customers take the necessary steps to prevent scams.

If it turns out that customers contributed to the scam, including clicking on disguised links from scammers, they will not offer a refund.

The devastated couple appealed to Comm Bank to reconsider, with the bank offering a 25 percent “gesture of goodwill” refund — leaving them with just $1,750 of the $7,000 lost.

“The Commonwealth Bank has a written guarantee that you will get your money back if you get hacked and they will get back to you,” James said.

“The bank is trying to say that we gave the scammer permission (to access our account) by tapping the link. That’s their loophole. But we didn’t give permission, we thought it was a voicemail from the doctor.’

Thousands of Australians have reported similar scams involving links to fake voicemails

A scam attempt claims to have a message from a person's insurance company

Thousands of Australians have reported similar scams involving links to fake voicemails

Comm Bank said in a statement that customers “must remain vigilant” and said they are looking at each case individually.

“We are always very concerned when we become aware of fraud and scams affecting customers and the wider community,” a spokesperson said.

“Unfortunately, despite the efforts and efforts of regulators, law enforcement agencies and the banking industry, such frauds and scams still occur.

“We assess fraud, scams and complaints on a case-by-case basis, but it is widely recognized that scams are becoming more sophisticated.

“Customers need to stay vigilant, protect their banking information and be smart about who they send money to.”

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