Connect with us


Bank Teller Prevents Internet Scam By Asking A Few Simple Questions



Quick Smiles:

  • An Australian bank teller saves a woman from a potential financial disaster caused by an internet scam.
  • The bank’s training encourages employees to question unusual transactions, a strategy that proved successful in this case.
  • The bank’s Head of Fraud and Financial Crime Insights, Ben Young, emphasizes the importance of personal interaction in the banking industry.

In a world where scams are becoming increasingly common, one Australian bank teller’s quick thinking and intuition saved a woman from a potentially devastating financial situation. The woman, in her 70s, had been unknowingly caught up in an internet scam.

The bank, known for its rigorous training that encourages employees to question any suspicious transactions, was the stage for this rescue operation. The teller’s suspicions were aroused when she noticed the elderly woman seemed nervous about selling her home and cancelling her home insurance with the bank.

“When I asked her why she was planning to sell, she said she needed to ‘help her son’,” said Mariana Karbowski, the teller at the Liverpool Branch.

However, upon further questioning, Karbowski discovered the woman was planning to sell her home to free her online boyfriend from an overseas prison.

“My next question was, please tell me the last time he took you out for a coffee, and she said, ‘Actually, never, we met online,’” Karbowski shared.

Karbowski, whose own father had been scammed out of millions, decided to run a reverse image search on Google of the man the woman claimed was her internet boyfriend. She discovered that many of the photos the client received from the man were online but with different names.


“We cried together and I walked her to the police station to report it,” she said, “We care and when we see those red flags, we act.”

Internet scamming and fraud is a global black market that siphons off tens of billions. It’s the training and insight of employees like Karbowski that the bank’s Head of Fraud and Financial Crime Insights, Ben Young, hopes to incorporate into a new security feature on the bank’s online banking suite.

This feature, powered by AI, will ask the sort of questions that you would ask a loved one if they told you: “I’m about to send $50,000 to some foreign corner of the world.” If the AI is not satisfied with the transaction, it will block it and notify the fraud department who will then reach out to the client and discuss the transaction.

While it may seem like an intrusive invasion of personal decision-making, scammers and fraudsters often target people who are not of sound mind, such as those with dementia, those who live alone, or internet illiterates.

This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of personal interaction in the banking industry, a sentiment echoed by Ben Young, and a regrettable loss of branch closures across the country. It also underscores the need for vigilance and the importance of asking the right questions to protect ourselves and our loved ones from potential scams.