• May 18, 2018
Auckland University student Kimberly D'Mello scammed of over $3000. Photo: Vandhna Bhan.
University of Auckland student has lost more than $3000 over the past week through a debit card scam.
Nineteen-year-old Kimberly D’Mello realised at the end of the week that her Westpac bank account had lost thousands of dollars after a week full of studying and not a single spend by her.
“They spent some hundreds on Pandora jewellery, Countdown online supermarket shopping, and a large sum on Uber Eats all to an Asian restaurant,” says Ms D’Mello.
Ms D’Mello says the week before her account was scammed she signed up to Uber Eats. She then searched on multiple different websites for unofficial barcodes to use for discounts. “I’m scared one of those sites I used to get a barcode was dodgy, since most of the scammer’s transactions were to Uber Eats,” says Ms D’Mello.
The Westpac fraud investigation team says: “That probably was the case as some scams are when people look for cheaper discounts online from sites other than the company itself.”
Westpac also warned of other scams that may have affected Ms D’Mello, such as dodgy shops that require two swipes of the debit card when your card is fairly new and should not have a defect.
“They implant a chip to get your details but won’t use those details until a year later,” says Westpac’s fraud investigation team.
Westpac and other banks have also had a history with hackers implanting chips into their own secured ATM machines.
When looking through Ms D’Mello’s transactions last week, Westpac noticed a few organisations which it claims have been known for a fraudulent background.
Consumer New Zealand says: “People are becoming smarter to avoid scams but that means scammers are also becoming smarter and these types of debit card scams are semi new territory.”
Another Auckland student, 19-year-old Tori Van Straalen, was also scammed of $1000 in the last couple of days.
“I wonder if they’re targeting students, or we just fall into their trap quicker. I think from now on I’ll stick to using my eftpos card while out and about,” says Ms D’Mello.
Westpac says it will take up to two weeks to investigate this scam as “there are so many transactions to sift through” but once the scammer is tracked down and the investigation proves this was not Ms D’Mello’s doing, she will receive all her money back from the bank.
Celia Whitley • September 22, 2022