Quick-thinking NAB employee nabs scammer, saving love-baited victim from a catfishing trap!

In a world where online relationships can blossom in the blink of an eye, the risk of falling prey to deceitful schemes has never been higher.

A compassionate employee from the National Australia Bank has emerged as a hero after coming to the aid of a victim ensnared in a deceptive online scheme.

The story unfolds with a blend of empathy and determination, showcasing the power of human connection in the digital age.

The unsuspecting victim, a woman in her 60s, entered the NAB branch in Cranbourne, Melbourne's southeast, with the intention of transferring a significant sum of $2,000 to her overseas 'boyfriend'.

She believed he was in dire need of the funds to travel to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.

Alarm bells began to ring when she admitted to NAB Customer Advisor, Dilan Pathirannahalage, that she was unaware of her beau's last name—a startling omission for someone about to send a large amount of money.

NAB Customer Advisor Dilan Pathirannahalage saved a 60-year-old woman from being scammed out of $2,000. Credits: Shutterstock

As the woman scrolled through her text messages in search of his surname, Mr Pathirannahalage noticed the overly affectionate tone of the messages she received.

‘The messages were very lovey dovey, and looked like they were getting increasingly coercive,’ he stated.

The astute NAB worker, sensing something amiss, took the woman aside into a private room to delve deeper into the situation.

It was there she revealed that her 'boyfriend's' account had been ‘frozen’, and she was to send the money to a friend of his in Sydney, who would then forward it to him.

The convoluted nature of this request raised further suspicion, as she had never met the supposed friend either.

‘The reason she didn't know who she was transferring the funds to was because she had never met the person on the other end of the line who she thought was her boyfriend, and so didn't know their friends either,’ Mr Pathirannahalage explained.

‘Even though the holes in the scammer's story were clear to me, she was blinded by her love for him.’

‘These criminals are cunning, and will prey on people's kindness to steal their money,’ he added.

Mr Pathirannahalage, recognising the classic signs of a catfishing scam, faced the difficult task of convincing the woman that she was being deceived.

As he gently explained the reality of her predicament, her 'boyfriend' called, pressuring her about the transfer.

Without hesitation, the NAB employee contacted the bank's fraud team to investigate and intervene.

‘I said, “I would never do this if I were you. I believe you are being scammed,”’ Mr Pathirannahalage recounted.

‘In the moment, customers don't see you as someone protecting them from losing their money. You are the person who is breaking their heart.’

The woman, initially heartbroken, soon realised the gravity of the situation and expressed her gratitude for being saved from losing an entire paycheck to a scammer's ploy.

This incident is a stark reminder of the increasing prevalence of romance scams, which have seen a 29 per cent year-on-year increase among NAB customers.

Australians, in 2023 alone, have lost a staggering $34 million to romance and friendship scams, as reported by Scamwatch.

Recently, another NAB employee saved the day for a couple who almost lost a hefty amount to an online investment scam.

Scams like this are often operated on social media, where perpetrators can easily build a false identity.

To address this concern, a call from experts for social media companies to step up and take greater responsibility.
Key Takeaways
  • NAB Customer Advisor Dilan Pathirannahalage, in Cranbourne, Melbourne, saved a woman in her 60s from sending $2,000 to a scammer pretending to be her boyfriend overseas.
  • The woman was unaware of her supposed boyfriend's last name and had never met him in person; she was asked to send money to a third party in Sydney due to his 'frozen' account.
  • The customer advisor became suspicious when he noticed the affectionate and coercive nature of the text messages, leading him to investigate further and prevent the scam.
  • Romance scams have increased by 29 per cent among NAB customers, with Australians losing more than $34 million to such scams in 2023, according to Scamwatch.
Have you or someone you know encountered a similar situation? How did you deal with it? Share your experiences in the comments below.
what a great man this was. why are women and men so desperate to pay exorbitant funds to strangers? I do know as I put desperate.
I read this very same article in another site with the sum being much larger than $2,000.

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