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Moira Gardener and Brisbane CWL president Sandy O’Donohue (The Catholic Leader/Joe Higgins)

A simple slip-up in awareness resulted in Brisbane’s Catholic Women’s League being scammed out of $29,000. Source: The Catholic Leader.

CWL treasurer Moira Gardener received a notification on her mobile phone that would live on to haunt her.

It was a message asking her to approve a payment of $349 to a business she did not recognise. If she did not want the payment to go through, the message said, she had to call a number provided to speak with a representative from her bank.

Mrs Gardener called the number and was put in a queue, which seemed typical, and she spoke to a “very kind man”.

He spoke with an Australian accent and reassured Mrs Gardener that she had “done the right thing” to notify them about the suspicious activity.

Over the next two hours, the scammer extracted information from her about her identity as well as her passwords.

At one point, he told her that a business account attached to her personal account was in danger of being hacked by scammers. As treasurer, she had access to the CWL’s accounts.

The scammer advised her to move her money from the business account into her personal account to protect it and then convinced her she needed to delete her banking app from her phone so that they could not get into it.

Mrs Gardener was now blind to transactions on her account and that was when the scammers started spending the CWL’s money – they stole $29,000.

The next day, the scammers spoke with the bank for an hour, impersonating Mrs Gardener using the identity information they had stolen to verify that their opulent overnight purchases were legitimate. The impersonator succeeded and the bank approved the transactions.

When the CWL realised the money was missing, they immediately lodged applications to get the money back. 

Initially, the bank said they would not get the money back, but after further investigations, the bank found the call log from when the scammers had spoken with them.

Mrs Gardener said the call log proved crucial for the CWL and the money was refunded.


‘A living Hell’ – Brisbane Catholic Women’s League scammed out of $29,000 (By Joe Higgins, The Catholic Leader)