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Bondi mum Diana Nikitenko, the last person who would be scammed

"The perfect scam," said an Aussie mom after thieves stole thousands of dollars overnight.

The accountant says that she is the "last person who would be scammed." Not everyone is like her.

Diana Nikitenko, a mother from Bondi, is "the last person who would be scammed."

The accountant never answers a call from a number she doesn't recognize before looking online for reports of scams, and she always checks her transactions twice.

But scammers stole $3000 from her after they sent her a text message pretending to be from the toll road company Linkt. She wants other people to be aware of this.

Nikitenko got a text message on Wednesday telling her that her payment for a toll charge had failed and asking her to pay off the rest of the bill.

"If it had been any other company, I wouldn't have been a victim," she said. "But I had just used Linkt 10 days ago to update my information, so I thought something might be wrong with my account."

Bondi mum Diana Nikitenko, the last person who would be scammed
Bondi's mom, Diana Nikitenko, said that the whole thing made her realize how caring and helpful her family was when she needed help.

"I looked up this number on Google before I paid, and there was no warning that it was a scam, so it made sense to me."

So, she clicked on the link and put in her information on what looked like a real page.

"I just saw (the Linkt site) 10 days ago, so it didn't set off any alarm bells."

The next day, $3000 that she had spent at Sephora was gone from her account.

"Even when I called the bank to say I hadn't sent the money to Sephora, I didn't make the connection," she said.

"It was a very good idea. The ideal con."

Nikitenko called her bank, NAB, right away, and the bank is now disputing the transactions on her behalf.

The mom of three wants other people to be careful and not fall for the same trick.

Nikitenko said, "I'll admit I did something stupid, but at least I can tell other people."

Diana Nikitenko got a scam text message on Wednesday that said her payment for a toll charge had failed.
Diana Nikitenko got a scam text message on Wednesday that said her payment for a toll charge had failed.

"I'm a bookkeeper, so I always look over the numbers and find mistakes."

I'm the last person who would fall for a scam, but I did."

Even though she was shocked, Nikitenko is looking at the bright side. She says that the situation showed her how loving and helpful her family is.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says that people have lost more than $120,000 to these kinds of scams.

A spokesperson for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) told that Scamwatch had received about 2,000 reports from victims between January and September 4. More than 600 of those reports came in July, before the number jumped to over 1,100 last month.

Diana Nikitenko doesn't want anyone else to be taken in by the con artists.
Diana Nikitenko doesn't want anyone else to be taken in by the con artists.

The ACCC said, though, that it's hard to tell from the data how many people were scammed. This means that the number of victims could be even higher.

"If you're not sure if you have an unpaid toll, go to the homepage of the company the text message says it's from and search for unpaid toll notices for your license plate," the spokesperson said.

Linkt is aware of the scams and says on its website, "We will never send you an email or SMS asking you to reply with your financial information, such as your credit or debit card details, or your log in details, including your password."

"Don't click it."

In July, Scamwatch sent out a public alert telling drivers to be careful of messages that pretend to be from the Linkt toll service and ask them to "verify your information."

If you are worried about the scam, here is what the ACCC says:

  • Don't click on any links in messages you didn't expect. Even if you expect a message, it is best to get the information directly from a website or other source you have found on your own.
  • Check the text message for typos or grammatical mistakes. Don't answer and delete the message.
  • If you think you have a bill that hasn't been paid, you should contact the company through their official channels.
  • Don't send a message back. Delete the number and block it.

People who fell for the scam are told to contact their bank right away. Those who are worried about losing personal information can get help from IDCARE.

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