A self-funded retiree who was scammed out of nearly $20,000 has had her money refunded by NAB after The New Daily made inquiries about her case.
In June, 76-year-old retiree Faye Kingsford discovered almost $20,000 had been withdrawn from her NAB home loan account in two transactions of $9900 – taking the total money owed to the bank from $72,000 to $94,000 once additional interest owing was factored in.
Both transactions were made as internet transfer payments two days apart, at the end of May.
The money was taken from the account after a phone call from a man claiming to work for Telstra, and Ms Kingsford said the only information she provided the mystery caller was the name of her bank – no account details, and certainly no PIN numbers.
“I nearly had a fit,” she told The New Daily.
Despite NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn’s promises to the royal commission the bank would “put things right” for aggrieved customers, Ms Kingsford was left battling to get her money back.
After calling the bank to resolve the issue, Ms Kingsford said she was referred to different people “about 10 times” before finally being told verbally the loss of the money was predominately her fault, and the bank would refund only $5000, with no change to the interest owed on the loan.
Ms Kingsford requested that offer be sent to her in writing, but a week later had still not received anything from her bank until The New Daily intervened.
She also said she was not referred to a third-party complaints resolution service, such as the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
The New Daily contacted NAB for comment on the story, and the following day Ms Kingsford received a call promising to refund the full amount of $19,800, as well as compensating the $576 of additional interest and a further $3000 ‘good-will’ payment.
A statement from NAB to The New Daily did not address the specifics of Ms Kingsford’s case.
The bank’s statement can be seen in full below:
“We place the highest priority on doing whatever we can to keep our customers money and information safe and secure. It’s unfortunate that there are people in this world who are conducting sophisticated scams like this and attempting to prey on unsuspecting and sometimes more vulnerable victims.
“Our teams make every effort to recover lost or stolen funds, however unfortunately this isn’t always possible due to the nature of the scam. It’s why our teams work hard to continually raise awareness about cyber security and provide practical guidance to help people stay safe.
“Due to customer confidentiality and the complexities surrounding this matter, we are unable to comment on the specifics of this case. We can confirm we have settled this matter.”
Fraud and scam initiatives
On its website, NAB says it has number of measures in place to protect clients from frauds and scams, and promises to “reimburse you 100 per cent of any amount taken from your account if, despite our best defences, you’re a victim of fraud”.
This assurance comes with a caveat, however, with the bank noting that “your responsibilities when operating your account still apply”, exempting cases where the transaction was either authorised by the account owner, or where the account owner provided enough detail to a third party for them to authorise the transaction.
The includes a list of scams and fraudulent activity on its website, and uses secure messaging and social media to alert customers to potential frauds and scams.