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Toowoomba pensioners scammed by sophisticated scam before Bank of Queensland recovers savings

The Shiny Scam That Cost A Couple $146,000 After They Were Duped By A ‘Slick Professional’ Scam — And How Cunning Bank Bosses Got The Money Back

  • Scammed couple share their harrowing ordeal to warn others
  • Bank managed to recover money after signaling a suspicious transaction
  • Officials have warned that this is usually not the case for scammed victims

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An elderly retired couple was conned out of their hard-earned savings before their bank saved the day.

Anita and Thomas Jacobsen from Toowoomba in Queensland’s Darling Downs researched financial institutions for the best deposit rate to invest their $146,000 in savings.

They received a call from a man with a British accent who claimed to be from a well-known Australian bank and offered a four percent rate for six months.

After speaking to the man’s colleague a few days later and receiving paperwork with the bank’s masthead, Mr Jacobsen transferred their savings to the specified account.

A retired couple were too embarrassed to tell their family after being scammed out of their $146,000 savings (stock image of a retired couple)

He was shocked to receive a call two days later from the Bank of Queensland’s Financial Crimes Team saying he had been scammed.

The Jacobsens were so embarrassed that they didn’t tell their family for a week, but are now telling their story in the hope that others won’t fall victim to a similar scam.

“I thought I was pretty well versed in making business transactions and I just feel sorry for anyone who got caught up in this,” Mr Jacobsen told the Toowoomba Chronicle.

“Our working days are over, we worked hard for this money, paid taxes on it, it was all self funded and we were told we had no chance of getting it back.”

But Bank of Queensland came to their aid and was able to reclaim the savings from the Jacobsens.

The bank managed to put the money on hold when its financial crimes team labeled the transaction potentially suspicious and worked with the other bank involved to return the money to the very grateful and relieved couple.

However, bank officials warned that this happy ending is not usually the case for scammed victims.

“In most cases it can be very difficult to recover the funds once the funds are debited from your account and it is very common for scammers to transfer funds offshore to cryptocurrency making it virtually impossible to recover those funds said BOQ client attorney Ben Griffin.

He said the Jacobsens fell victim to a highly professional and polished investment scam and hoped their story would make others more vigilant.

Bank of Queensland client lawyer Ben Griffin said the scammed couple were one of the lucky few to get their money back

Bank of Queensland client lawyer Ben Griffin said the scammed couple were one of the lucky few to get their money back

Bank of Queensland client lawyer Ben Griffin said the scammed couple were one of the lucky few to get their money back

The story prompted BOQ to warn clients across the country about the surge in fraudulent bond investment offers from scammers claiming to be “selling 3.75-6.25 percent term deposits with an investor deadline of January 30, 2023.”

“The scammer reportedly initiates and maintains contacts with interested parties, sometimes for a longer period of time,” the bank warned.

“During this time, they may provide application instructions, expiration dates, investment thresholds and other specific details about potential investment options.”

Signs to look out for include unrealistically high yields or bonds that “seem too good to be true” and continued pressure to invest due to the “risk of missing out.”

Other red flags include professional-looking forms or prospectuses with “lookalike” email addresses or non-genuine phone numbers, unusual requests for personal information, and requests to deposit money directly into a bank account.

Bank of Queensland has warned customers to be vigilant of similar scams

Bank of Queensland has warned customers to be vigilant of similar scams

Bank of Queensland has warned customers to be vigilant of similar scams

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission advised never to transfer money to an account owned by people you don’t know, or give your personal, credit card or online account information over the phone unless you got the number from a reliable source

“Never respond to emails or phone calls from someone claiming to be your bank asking for account information,” the ACCC website states.

“Real banks or financial institutions never do this. This is what scammers do to steal your identity and your money.”

If you receive an email claiming to be from the bank requesting your account information, delete the email immediately without clicking any links that could activate malicious software designed to steal personal information, and report you the email to your bank.

If you get a call, ask for their name and number and say you’ll call back later. Immediately contact your bank via the official telephone number.

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