“Scammers stole $10,000 from me and threatened my baby”
One woman shares her harrowing tale
Content Editor / April 03 2019
Queensland mum, Anthea lost over $10,000 from her bank accounts after falling victim to a cleverly orchestrated cyber scam.
A call by a person claiming to be from a prominent Australian telco and internet provider convinced Anthea to grant access to her desktop computer.
“At first I hung up but after the second call they told us our computer had been hacked, and they needed to access our bank account to find out more about the hackers, and essentially leave a blood trail to trace them,” Anthea told Practical Parenting.
“After lots of questions I relented and shared information fearing we might lose money if I didn't. While I was very suspicious at first they were extremely convincing and had a rational answer for everything.
The hackers took control of her PC and disabled her security software, then proceeded to remove money from her bank account.
“It wasn’t until they had started withdrawing money from my bank account that I realised this was not as it seemed,” Anthea said.
But the worst was yet to come - they used her desktop background; a family picture to threaten her and her family.
“They were using remote access software and could see a photo of my family on the desktop,” Anthea recalled.
“As I began to get suspicious and ask more questions of them, they said that they had information as to where I lived and that they would come and hurt my daughter or take her away.
“It definitely shook me up. The complete invasion of privacy was very upsetting. Thankfully I found a great IT guru the next day who talked me through the steps I needed to take, most of which I had already done by that stage so gaining some control again as soon as possible was definitely very important to me.”
Thankfully Anthea’s family recovered the money that was stolen from them, but she never found out who the hackers were, or where they were based.
Unfortunately Anthea’s case is far from being rare, with a recent study showing that one in three Australians experienced cyber crime.
“Our research shows that each Australian stands to lose hundreds of dollars each year as a result of cyber crime, with over half the population falling victim to its affects in their life time,” says Mark Gorrie, Territory Manager and Cyber Security expert - ANZ, Norton by Symantec.
To help protect against cyber crime, use a robust multi-platform security solution and update it regularly, switch on two-step verification or multi-factor authentication wherever offered, educate your children about online safety and be careful about over-sharing your child’s life on social media.
Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.