This 18 year old, Aurora Casilli, lost her $25,000 life savings after falling for an elaborate phone scam KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Monday, January 9, 2023

This 18 year old, Aurora Casilli, lost her $25,000 life savings after falling for an elaborate phone scam

A distraught teenager who claims to have been scammed out of $25,000 in a matter of seconds has issued a chilling warning.

After scoring her first casual job at 14, Aurora Casilli has been dreaming of the day she would have enough money to buy her very own home.

The 18-year-old from Albany, Western Australia, says she has always known the value of money and over the years, had meticulously saved every cent she possibly could.

At one stage, she was even working three different jobs to help fatten her savings account.

“While my friends were going out and buying nice things like makeup and clothes, I was saving. I was saving for my future.

“Now I have nothing. I have to start all over again.”

On December 3 last year, Aurora received an alarming text message that she believed was from her bank, which stated someone with a name she did not recognize was attempting to make a transfer from her account.

The message appeared to be from National Australian Bank, as it was from the same number and in the same text message thread as previous, legitimate communications from the bank.

This technique is known as spoofing and is commonly used by scammers to appear more legitimate to potential victims.

The text urged her to call their 1800 number if she had not authorized the payment, which the teenager decided to dial as she was in a “state of panic.”


But now Aurora says all her years of dedication and hard work were wasted, as she now “has nothing to her name” after falling victim to an alleged phone scam.

“You never think something like this will happen to you,” she told news.com.au.

“I’m devastated. I’ve worked hard all my life, I was saving for a house.

“All those shifts, all the work I put in, and now this.


Casilli said her life was turned upside down with a December 3 text message alerting her that someone was trying to access her NAB account.

While the message was alarming in itself, Casilli said the number used did not instantly set off any alarm bells because the bank had sent her alerts previously for other legitimate matters and the latest appeared in the same thread.

Ms Casilli said she was put on hold for an hour before she could finally get through to the number, all adding to the apparent authenticity of the scam.

The scammer pretended to be a NAB worker and told Ms Casilli her account had been accessed by an unknown person and told her to transfer her funds into a new account he'd created for her.

The 18-year-old completely bought into the man's words and transferred all her $36,561 life savings into the new account.

“I was just at home, about to make breakfast when the text came through,” she recalled.

“I panicked when I read it. All the money I had saved, and now I thought someone was in my account trying to make an unauthorized transfer.

“The text was from NAB, (National Australia Bank) and was underneath others messages I got from them. It seemed legit to me, so I called the number in a panic.

“If it was from a random mobile number, I wouldn’t have believed it. But it seemed so real.”

Aurora explained that at the time, nothing seemed “off.”

The text appeared to be from NAB, and when she dialed the phone number for help, she claims the music and voice prompts were identical to when she called her bank in the past.

The frightening technique is known as 'spoofing' and is used by scammers who change their caller ID number to look as if they are the genuine companies.

Panicked she was going to lose her savings, Ms Casilli quickly called the freephone number given in the text. 

'If it was from a random mobile number, I wouldn't have believed it. But it seemed so real,' she told news.com.au.

It was only after she hung up that she'd realised her money had been transferred into a Commonwealth bank account.

'I felt sick, I just got this gut feeling that something was terribly wrong,' she said. 

She tried to call the number back but the 'NAB worker' on the other end quickly hung up once he realised Ms Casilli had worked out his scamNow, Ms Casilli wants to share her story so others can avoid the heartache of having their life's saving stolen from them. “Scared” for the security of her hard-earned money, she contacted the 1800 number included in the text and was met with the “same NAB ringtone, wait times and even the same customer service options” heard on previous calls.

“They advised me someone was trying to get into my account and I needed to transfer all the money in my account — $36,561 — to a new account since someone has hacked it,” Casilli said.

“Once I transferred the money, they hung up on me. Turns out all along I was speaking with the scammers.”

The teen had just become a victim of “spoofing”, where fraudsters disguise their caller ID as a phone number of a legitimate business to trick their target.

Realising what had just unfolded, Casilli got back on the phone to ring NAB’s actual customer hotline and alert them to the scam and to try and block the payment before it was processed.

While waiting, Casilli also made a desperate call to the Commonwealth Bank, where she realised the money was transferred to and made reports to ScamWatch and the police.

The teen also physically went into the financial institutions involved.

She claims NAB did little but “push me away to call a number”. When she contacted Commonwealth, the money was already gone.

“I have done everything I possibly could,” Casilli said, adding that she had to make her own follow-up calls to NAB where she was told informally the investigation was over.

“They just said it was too hard to get the money back,” she said.

“That’s it. The money is gone.” In an official response to the teen, NAB claimed it is “not liable” for the loss because the payment had been authorised by Cassili and it even argued she was not a victim of a scam.

“Based on the information you have provided to us, you have not been a victim of a scam,” the bank told Cassili.

“The transactions were conducted with your normal device and there is no data suggesting that the transaction occurred due to any failure of the NAB platform, product or platform”.

Casilli said she was offered $3000 from NAB as a gesture of goodwill, but that the offer was declined because it appeared to make it “my fault”.

“That money was for my first home deposit or for me to start studying at university and move but now I have lost everything,” Casilli said.

“I have to put my plans another year behind. I’m only 18 years old but this has been a very traumatic and difficult experience especially living on my own.

“I’ve done everything I can possibly do, but I want to keep fighting and I don’t want the bank to shut me off.

“NAB had no measures in place even though I got onto it immediately.”

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