How NAB bank teller refused to let a couple withdraw $40,000 from their account – and saved them from a sinister scam plot: ‘Alarm bells’
A bank teller saved some $40,000 after she noticed they were cheating.
Erin Bugg, a customer advisor at the Nab branch in Rosny east of Hobart, was approached by the man and woman at the store to have their account unblocked and money sent to an ‘online investment firm’.
The couple tried to send the first of two installments – $40,000 – to the supposed firm in Perth.
The firm promised a 12 per cent return on their term deposit and a guaranteed payout if the firm failed, both of which put Ms Bugg on high alert.
“If there was a scam red flags bingo card, ‘online investment opportunity’ would be at the top of the list,” Ms Bugg said.
‘Immediately alarm bells went off for me. It sounded like an investment scam and I was worried that this couple could lose their life savings.’
NAB bank teller Erin Bugg (pictured) saved a couple from losing $40,000 after a ‘too good to be true’ investment scam
The customers were sure that they were not being scammed and became desperate to transfer their money to the firm.
While Ms Bugg dug into the firm and found their website looked legitimate and even had several news articles written about them, the rates they were offering were ‘too good to be true’.
“Nobody likes to be told they’re being lied to, especially if they feel they’ve done all the right things,” Ms Bugg said.
“They did their own research and even spoke to the company on the phone.”
The bank teller said another alarm bell was rung when the woman mentioned that a man at the firm kept calling her, insisting that she open the account to transfer the money.
After speaking to the bank’s fraud department who agreed that the investment opportunity was an ‘elaborate scam’, the couple then called the firm to try to get them to say otherwise.
“I refused to speak to the ‘firm’ but I could hear them telling the customers, ‘Oh, NAB always flag us as a scam,'” Ms Bugg said.
The fraud team urged the couple to speak to the bank in charge of the firm’s account to confirm they are who they say they are.
Ms Bugg’s caution paid off as the bank confirmed the account was not linked to the firm and urged them not to transfer any money to them.
“It was such a relief to hear from the customer that they had avoided being scammed,” she said.
‘I was put in a difficult position with all the pressure on me, and I’m so glad I didn’t back down – I stood my ground and followed my gut and prevented them from losing their life savings.’
The couple tried to send the money to an investment firm in Perth and were adamant it was not a scam, before Ms Bugg and the NAB fraud team urged them not to (pictured, Launceston branch )
Had it not been for Ms Bugg’s intervention, the couple would have joined more than 3,500 Aussies who fell victim to an investment scam in 2023, according to ScamWatch.
Investment scams were by far the most effective scam throughout last year, costing Aussies more than $276 million.
The ScamWatch website has urged Aussies to be weary of deals that seem ‘too good to be true’.
‘Scammers trick you into believing you’re getting an incredible deal or offer. They pressure you to act quickly so you don’t miss out,’ the site says.
“Remember, deals that seem too good to be true usually are.”