Popular mummy blogger Constance Hall claims she lost all her life savings after falling victim to a cruel real estate scam.
The 38-year-old, from Western Australia, said she unknowingly sent thousands of dollars to “hackers” after being approved for a rental property.
Constance posted a lengthy “online cry” about the cruel scam on Facebook on Wednesday and said it was officially the “worst school holiday ever”.
The mother-of-seven explained that she was looking to move out of her mother’s house and had applied for rentals with a six-month lease.
Popular mummy blogger Constance Hall (pictured) has claimed she was the victim of an elaborate property scam that cost her all her hard-earned life savings
Constance posted a lengthy ‘online cry’ about the cruel scam on Facebook on Wednesday and said it was officially ‘the worst school holiday ever’ (pictured, four of her seven children
After applying for many houses and getting no bites, the business owner decided to look at the properties that had been listed the longest.
“Here you go, a beautiful house with pool and garden and four furnished bedrooms available only for four months, perfect,” Constance wrote.
“I would never spend that much money on rent, but I felt like we all just needed a break and I could afford it. It just meant that I couldn’t save while I was there.
She contacted an estate agency in Nedlands, Perth, and was taken to view the house last Tuesday, later submitting an application online.
On Wednesday afternoon, the single mother received an email saying she had been approved and needed to transfer the bail funds along with four weeks rent.
“It was a lot of money. I was emptying my savings account and part of the salary last week this is a big hit for school holidays but i thought how excited the kids will be when i tell them it will be like a holiday per se,’ she wrote. .
“So I paid it, sent the payment straight away and told them ASAP would be great and announced it to the kids who were so excited.”
Constance (pictured) posted a lengthy ‘online cry’ about the cruel scam on Facebook on Wednesday and said it was officially ‘the worst school holiday ever’
The mother-of-seven (pictured) explained that she was looking to move out of her mother’s house and had applied for rentals with a six-month lease.
However, on Friday morning, Constance received a call from the agent who said the agency had been hacked.
“The last two emails I received on the same thread weren’t from them, they were from hackers,” she told her followers.
“The bank account details weren’t really theirs and the house was never approved.”
Perth’s mum said she felt ‘stupid’ and kicked herself for letting it happen.
“But I’m a businesswoman, I often pay large sums internationally, I’m savvy about scams, and I don’t pay anything that doesn’t come from a known contact with an email history. mails believable, so no, I’m not stupid,’ she said.
She said it could have happened to “literally anyone desperate to get a rental”.
Constance said her bank and the real estate agency told her there was little they could do to recover her savings.
His bank said that due to the nature of the scam and because it was an authorized transaction, the chances of getting his money back were slim.
However, on Friday morning, Constance’s dreams were dashed when she received a call from the agent who said the agency had been hacked.
‘Police told me I had to cyber report online but warned they were unlikely to recover the funds,’ the mum wrote.
“Real Estate maintained there was nothing they could do, but assured me their emails were secure again.”
Of her savings, her bank’s fraud department was only able to recover $7.57, forcing the mother of seven back to square one.
Constance said the scam ruined her children’s free time because “mom was broke”, but said she was luckier than most and was trying to be grateful.
“But saving has never been easy for me, and I was so proud of that money and felt like I was finally doing something that represented how successful I had been despite all the odds,” said- she writes.
The single mother urged others looking for rental property or posting security for the home to call the real estate agency before transferring funds.
“Even if you’ve communicated in the exact same thread before, it can’t hurt to call them and make sure it’s still them,” she concluded.
Of her savings, her bank’s fraud department was only able to recover $7.57, forcing the mother-of-seven back to square one
The blogging mummy received an outpouring of support in the comments of the post which was liked by more than 17,000 people.
She thanked her followers for starting a GoFundMe, but said kind gestures would “go the extra mile for yourselves or those in need.”
Some said the estate agency was partly to blame, with one woman suggesting her personal information had not been sufficiently secured.
“This is shocking since you had already been in contact with the agent and the timeline of the hack was perfect for your situation,” wrote another.
‘It seems real estate should have insurance for something like this?!’
Scamwatch has revealed Australians have already lost $295 million to scams in 2022, with 105,153 reports filed.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST PHISHING SCAMS:
Don’t click on any links or open any attachments from emails claiming to be from your bank or other trusted organization asking you to update or verify your details – just hit delete .
Do an internet search using the names or exact wording of the email or message to check for any reference to a scam – many scams can be identified this way.
Look for the security symbol. Secure websites can be identified by the use of ‘https:’ rather than ‘http:’ at the beginning of the internet address, or by a closed padlock or unbroken key icon in the bottom corner of your browser window.
Legitimate websites that ask you to enter confidential information are usually encrypted to protect your information.
Never provide your personal, credit card, or account information online if you receive a call claiming to be from your bank or any other organization.
Instead, ask for their name and phone number and independently check with the organization in question before calling back.
Source: ACCC scam watch