Grandma’s retirement dreams dashed after falling victim to ‘devastating’ scam

Aug 21, 2023
Marie Marshall had been looking forward to her retirement, however, her dreams took a devastating hit when she received a phone call from someone posing as a bank representative. Source: Getty Images.

In a heartbreaking turn of events, a beloved grandmother’s retirement dreams have been crushed after she fell victim to a “devastating” scam.

Marie Marshall, 66, had been looking forward to her retirement, however, her dreams took a devastating hit when she received a phone call from someone posing as a bank representative.

“I received a call one afternoon from someone who claimed to be from the Commonwealth Bank fraud department,” she told

“He was able to quote my account numbers and balances.

“He advised me that there were a number of suspicious transactions on my account, and Commonwealth believed my account had been compromised.

“In order to secure my accounts and funds, he said I’d need to open a new CBA account and transfer all my money there.”

In an effort to appear legitimate, the scammer informed Marshall she would need to confirm her identity using an application.

Unbeknownst to Marshall, she had fallen victim to a well-orchestrated scam that preyed on her trust, and after downloading the app, the scammer was able to gain access to Marshall’s phone and was able to steal $21,000 of her savings, leaving her with $4 to her name.

“I had no idea I’d been scammed until two days later,” she explained.

“I read a post on Facebook about someone experiencing the exact same scam. I immediately burst into tears and attempted to access my bank account, but was unable to login.

After filing a complaint, the bank reportedly told Marshall that they couldn’t recover her funds following their investigation.

“My future is going to be a week to week living situation,” she said.

“I plan to retire on the pension, and a small amount of superannuation. I don’t own a home.

“The savings the scammer stole would have been used to buy a car, as well as paying off some bills.”

During a recent appearance on Sunrise, Marshall’s daughter Shelley Thomson explained that the scam had a “devastating” impact on her mother.

“She was due to retire at the end of this year,” she said.

“It was all she had, basically, she was going to upgrade her car to get it through to the rest of her life.

“It is just devastating, it has really affected her and us as a family.”

Thomson called on banks to do more to protect customers from malicious scam activity.

“I believe that they need to be more accountable,” she said.

“Clearly, these are very sophisticated scams going on, someone already has your details, it makes it very convincing, people are going fall for that.”

Previous reports from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have indicated that people aged 65 and over have often reported the highest losses to scams, with losses increasing with age.

When it comes to avoiding falling victim to scam activity, the ACCC suggests the following:

  • Always make sure you know who you are dealing with or talking to. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If you are not sure that an offer is genuine, do not go through with the purchase or share personal details.
  • Check if the company is registered through the ABN lookup website.
  • Read reviews of the business and check for signs that it could be a scam.
  • Use a credit card rather than a debit card or bank transfer so that you can ask your bank for a chargeback.

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