$25 million dollar scam attempt foiled by NAB bankers

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Every year, thousands of Australians are impacted by scams.

From investment scams to invoice scams, they are becoming more sophisticated and have been growing exponentially over the past few years.

It was this sophistication that almost cost NAB customer, John Smith* $25 million.

The scam

Sydney based business banker, Thurston, received a call from a long-time business customer.

“When I picked up the phone and greeted John*, his request was pretty clear,” Thurston said.

“He had received an attractive term deposit rate from who he thought was another reputable bank and called to see if NAB could match. If not, he would take his cash and go.”

The first of many red flags

While the rate was not so extreme as to make Thurston initially suspicious, the fact that the customer was looking to move his $25 million in one transaction was the first red flag.

This is when Thurston called on the expertise of NAB’s Private Wealth banker, Amit and Investment Specialist, Jessi.

“I took a call from Thurston asking if I could investigate a deposit rate his customer received from another bank,” Amit said.

“I gave Jessi from our Private Investments team a call straight away.

“We went through the various pieces of material sent to the customer from the caller only to discover several red flags.”

Spotting the red flags

When Amit and Jessi went through the product material, they noticed several errors including:

  • Odd logo placement
  • Different ABN (Australian Business Number) to what was listed on the other bank’s official website
  • Grammatical errors throughout the documents
  • The deposit rate offered to the customer was not listed online

Amit and Jessi concluded that this was a scam and called the customer back within the hour, and the scam was foiled.

Investment scams are consistently among the top five scams NAB customers report. More broadly, the ACCC’s Scamwatch estimates Australians lost $1.5 billion to these scams in the 2022 calendar year.

Tips to spot red flags

  • Follow your gut – if something looks too good to be true it probably is
  • Spend time interrogating documents. There may be some obvious giveaways such as spelling errors and weird formatting
  • Compare any rates etc to what is published on the bank’s official website and call them on their publicly listed number to confirm
  • Check the numbers: ABN, Account Number and credit licence for example. Be aware though – criminals may impersonate the ABN and credit licences of legitimate organisations

Resources

  • Check out nab.com.au/security to see the latest scams and cyber threats
  • NAB offers free security education webinars to all Australians. Visit the NAB security hub to sign up for one today.

*The customer’s name has been changed for privacy reasons.

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