A leading property manager and industry trainer has had his identity stolen and his bank account compromised by a sophisticated scam artist.
Bob Walters, director of the Leading Property Managers of Australia (LPMA), has been battling a faceless fraudster for months, with no help from the police after his company was attacked by the scammer last month.
“I got a call from our bank saying that they had received a fax purportedly signed by me directing the bank to pay $145,000 to a particular person's account with a different bank," he said.
“The fax provided the bank with my mobile phone number to call and verify the transaction – but the scammer had successfully diverted my mobile number to their own prior to sending the fax.”
Mr Walters said that his telephone carrier requires scant ID requirements to make changes such as call diversion.
“The bank just so happened to call me through the switchboard, not my mobile. I successfully stopped the transaction but the bank froze the accounts and all legitimate transactions went under the microscope, so we went through a bit of a pain until the bank was convinced the threat had passed,” he said.
According to Mr Walters, the bank must have smelt a rat when the fax didn’t have the company letterhead.
After being forced to change all passwords and audit the IT of the company, the bank was satisfied and 'unfroze' the accounts, he said.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
“The fraudster managed to divert the number again. However, I found out because I stopped getting phone calls and tested it myself. I told my carrier to require a pin number to make any changes from now on, but the fraudster successfully diverted it a third time without the use of the pin,” said Mr Walters.
To add insult to injury, the fraudster managed to obtain a credit card in Mr Walters' name.
“If someone knows your name, address and date of birth they can convince carriers to change your account.
“Scammers target real estate agents quite frequently, but this was a little more than a typical fraudulent transfer,” said Mr Walters.
Unfortunately, as no money was actually taken, the police have refused to investigate the matter.
“The police said all they could do was make a report,” he said.