By MADELINE DOHERTY
A Murwillumbah business is refusing to do any future financial transactions over the internet after falling victim to internet crime.
King Street vet Samantha Bicknell was stung last year while conducting her usual internet banking for the surgery.
"I logged on and then left the computer,'' she said. ''Not long after a phone call came from the ANZ bank asking if I was doing an overseas transaction. I wasn't, to which they answered that $5000 was on its way out of my account to somewhere overseas. I think it was New Zealand."
The bank was able to stop the money touching its destination and it was returned to Ms Bicknell's account.
But the incident shook Ms Bicknell because she did not know how or why it had happened or how she could prevent it from occurring again.
The process that followed was one of elimination involving the bank, a computer expert and the Federal police E-Crime.
"At first we thought it was a virus, but that was ruled out as was any problem at the bank's end. I don't know for sure but it looks like it was computer hackers tapping in on our key strokes or password," Ms Bicknell said.
The ANZ bank security system that watches the internet banking had picked up the transaction quickly enough to halt the crime.
Ms Bicknell now visits her bank to do all banking.
"The internet has just made us all numbers, its all numbers and passwords."
NSW Fair Trading Minister, Diane Beamer, yesterday renewed warnings to consumers and small business operators to be on their toes, especially to a possible telephone scam operating out of the United States.
People receive a recorded phone call suggesting they have won a cruise or bus holiday in the US. Then they are asked to enter a number which puts them through to a US-based call centre. It is at this time that bank and credit card details and other personal details are sought.
Investigators say this could be a "phishing" scam which involves the use of a ruse to trick unsuspecting consumers into providing their bank account details which can then be sold to be used in a future fraud or theft.
Have you been a victim of internet crime? If so, let us know by emailing email@example.com or write to us at The Editor, P.O.Box 6336, Tweed Heads South, 2486.