A couple were left devastated after transferring over £80,000 of their savings to them that was meant for their house deposit.
The pair were in disbelief when they realised, they had sent the money to scammers, and not the mortgage brokers, to who the money was intended for.
Mr and Mrs Hunt were working almost six days a week, every week in a bid to save as much as they could for their dream home.
Mr and Mrs Hunt, who have eight children, had just about managed to save $150,000, (around £117,800) for a land package in Brisbane Brisbane’s south.
Construction of the home had not started, however, they hoped to build something modern and new with a pool, that was easy to maintain.
After working hard for 10 years, they wanted somewhere they could relax.
Mrs Hunt told 9now: “We felt like we deserved after all the hard work.
“We felt so good every week when we saw that savings account going up and up. We were just so proud of ourselves.”
But their dream of pouring their life savings into a new home turned into a nightmare after the couple engaged a mortgage broker who was recommended to them by friends.
Scammers ended up hacking the correspondence between the Hunts and the brokerage firm they had decided to use.
The hackers were able to create an almost identical email to the brokers which was enough to trick the Hunt’s.
The hackers started contacting the couple directly while still posing as their broker and eventually managed to convince them to share their banking login details which resulted in them scamming the Hunts out of their housing deposit.
The scammers had told the couple to transfer just over $102,000 (around £80,000) directly into their hands, before they logged into the Hunts’ bank account themselves and attempted to take another $20,000 (around £15,000).
Mrs Hunt explained she was so caught up in the excitement of buying a house that she had no idea she was handing over the money to scammers.
She said: “I feel responsible for that part. I feel stupid for giving those details out.”
The couple found out they had been scammed after receiving a call from their bank, informing them that scammers were trying to take a further $20,000 (around £15,000).
Mrs Hunt added: “We started to shake and feel sick and in disbelief that this could really be happening.”
The Hunts eventually discovered spelling and grammar errors in the scammer’s email. There were two punctuation marks missing and one word that was different from the legitimate broker’s email address.
Mrs Hunt reported the fraud to the police however they explained it will be hard to get it back as the money was made to an account abroad.
Cybercrime expert Dave Lacey said that unfortunately, the Hunts were unlikely legally to be able to claim the sum back.
He said: “’If you are volunteering or providing info such as security info, passwords, questionnaires, or access to your device, then typically the victim will wear that loss.
“There is no restorative justice we would typically view when it comes to these crimes.
“The mortgage industry, like the property or real estate industry, are often honey pots for people’s information.”
Mr Lacey advised that people should not react to any communications of a financial nature without verifying the contact through other means.