Six Million Reasons Nikki Is Scam Save Hero

National Australia Bank

Imagine receiving an email invoice from your conveyancer for a property you’re about to purchase.

You head into a bank branch to ask for your life savings to be transferred so you can secure the property. While $6 million is a lot of money, you’re sure the details on the invoice are correct.

Except they’re not.

The invoice has come from a scammer. The conveyancer’s business email address has likely been compromised and the payment details have been altered by criminals looking for a pay day.

That’s where customer advisor Nikki Alvaro comes in. It was a Monday morning earlier this month at NAB’s Erina branch on the NSW Central Coast when the customer in their 50s came in, invoice in hand.

“They had this email, they had the purchase price, they had all the information about the purchase, and the email came from the solicitor’s email address,” Nikki said.

The customer wanted the money transferred and was adamant they had received the correct details from the conveyancer, but the red flags were starting to pop up for Nikki.

“The company name on the invoice looked completely different from the normal property exchange company (PEXA) and the money was going to one bank, when I know PEXA is normally a different bank,” she said.

“As soon as I saw the company name, I thought there’s something not right here.

“That flagged straight away so we asked some more questions, and we asked the customer to confirm the BSB and account number with the conveyancer,” she said.

The customer pushed back slightly until they spoke to the conveyancer who dropped a bombshell.

“The conveyancer told the customer, ‘I haven’t even sent you an email because I haven’t even got a price yet’ and he confirmed he didn’t bank with the bank the money was going to.

“Everyone’s stomach just dropped,” Nikki said.

Nikki, branch manager Jenny Minns and the customer realised what had just happened. The customer had nearly fallen victim to an invoice scam, but their life savings were safe.

The email was a scam, the purchase price was made up and the transfer details had been doctored.

Invoice scams

Invoice scams are a type of business email compromise scams, which are consistently amongst the top scams impacting NAB customers.

More broadly, the ACCC estimated business email compromise cost Australian consumers and businesses $224 million in 2022.

“Everything looked legitimate, they’d made it come from the conveyancer’s email address and they had information of the purchase,” Nikki said.

Nikki is proud to have put a stop to the scam and the customer even sent her a beautiful bunch of flowers and a card to thank her.

“Hi Nikki, thank you for going over and beyond and above in your service for National Australia Bank. Your service means the world to me, and you should be employee of the year. Thank you so much I really appreciate it, you have saved my life savings.”

“This is exactly why we do what we do,” Nikki said.

/Public Release. View in full here.