Police are warning Mackay residents to be vigilant with your mobile phone details in the wake of a new scam doing the rounds.
Police are warning Mackay residents to be vigilant with your mobile phone details in the wake of a new scam doing the rounds.

Man loses $20,000 after scammers take over mobile phone

A MACKAY region man has told of his horror discovery $20,000 had been drained from his bank accounts thanks to a new scam doing the rounds.

Now police are warning members of the public to be vigilant, particularly with their mobile phones.

'Porting' is the new method being used by criminals. It commandeers your mobile phone, allowing access to all of its contents, potentially including passwords and approvals for access (such as security questions for your most sensitive content).

A criminal with details of your mobile phone number and limited personal information about you can transfer your account from your phone to their phone. When they do - this is called porting - it can happen very quickly.

A Glenden resident recently found this out after he was unable to use his mobile phone data.

The victim contacted his service provider and was advised that a service provider transfer request had been made from his mobile phone - he was no longer a customer.

At that point he knew there was a problem.

"On my wife's phone I called two of the banks that I was with and I had those accounts frozen," he said.

"The third bank was on maintenance. It's an online bank only so all their phones were down during maintenance so I wasn't able to get in contact with them.

"Because I have a pin on my phone I thought it's secured they need a pin to get in, they don't know that."

When Monday morning came around, the man's stomach dropped. Two amounts of about $10,000 were transferred out of his account into both an ANZ and NAB account.

And while he'd like to get it back, he's not hopeful.

"It's not exactly a small amount to lose. It takes a long time to save up that amount," the man said.

About eight months ago, the man started a new business - fortunately the scammers couldn't access those business accounts.

"I'm very relieved. All my tax for the end of the year was in that account," the man said. "The tax office doesn't care if you've been robbed, they'll want their money. But I am glad that it wasn't touched."

He said as technology progresses more scams like this will become apparent targeting more people.

"I'm not fearful that it will happen again, I'm not worried it will happen again. It's more, I know it's going to happen again it's the day and age - technology is technology and there is always ways to get into these sorts of things.

"Even you're even suspicious, freeze your accounts straight away. Don't even wait, because that's pretty well the only reason why I lost anything because I didn't chase that one account that I couldn't get onto at the time."


To avoid anyone getting into the same predicament, police have provided steps that can be taken to reduce the chance of becoming a victim.

1. Don't allow your mobile phone number to be publicly visible on social media.

2. Don't share unnecessary personal information on social media including full date of birth, home address etc.

3. Be wary of unsolicited emails or phone calls that seek you to provide personal information.

4. If you notice any discrepancy with your mobile phone, speak to your service provider promptly.

5. If you establish that porting has occurred, contact your financial institution, contact ACORN, report the matter promptly and restrict the damage.

According to Mackay police, once your identity information is lost once it's lost for good.

Re-victimisation is very common - IDCARE is a victim support agency for any one impacted by, or at risk of identity crime.

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