After being in a lost state of mind the past month since the scam, I hope to seek advice from the OzBargain community. I’m here asking for advice and please spare any grief as it’s been a difficult experience.
I have been emailing back and forth with our builder and when they sent me an invoice for the first progress payment, the scammers intercepted and sent me builders letterhead with the amended bank account details.
I even replied to this email to confirm the payment details etc, unknowingly by then I was communicating to the scammer instead. And he replied to the forwarded email and confirmed his account was correct. So I transferred $13k to the account.
It’s only when I spoke to the builder the next day was when we both realise that he did not get any of the emails I sent to him nor the money. It only hit me when he told me he is using Bank A not Bank B (that I remit payment)
I immediately forwarded the email thread and typed out his email address, letter by letter - [email protected] and the builder still did not receive the email thread. How is that possible? And The scammer had the audacity to reply that forwarded email later that day he received the money!
Long story short- because the account is interstate, and the account by then is closed, it took 2 weeks for WA cyber police to open the investigation ( I was in a long queue apparently) the scammer has left the building and the case is pretty much cold by now. The Banks are not helpful at all and made it very clear they won’t recover the money. I feel helpless and don’t know what else to do. I have already spoken to both banks Branch Manager, went to local police and called WA Cyber Police and Nothing from them. I went to QBCC for a solution and they offered nothing. I will be going to ombudsman if I can’t get any resolution.
The builder is not taking any responsibility and said his emails are secured so it would be my emails that has been intercepted, so it’s my responsibility. I have asked him to inquire with his builders insurance but he is not willing to. Everything is at a halt now which makes it very difficult to continue the built. I feel like I’m at his mercy as he is still halfway with the built.
I wish I could take this further and get a PI specialising in Cyber investigation but not sure where to start or if it’s even worth it. This experience have taken a huge toll on me and my family. I feel sick thinking this scammer have gotten away with it and is continuing to scam more people 😔 Any advice is greatly appreciated.