While Elizabeth calls her daughter-in-law, I put a call into the ANZ NZ Fraud Team.
Elizabeth lets me drive her home and as we walk into her house I notice her laptop is open and switched on, with her webcam operating.
“How long have you had this on?” I ask. “Two days,” Elizabeth tells me.
“They turned it on and made me keep it on. They said it would help with the investigation.”
I shut down the laptop and suggest she keeps it switched off.
“They said they were working for the New Zealand Government and that by helping them I would be doing my part to stop online fraud,” she tells me.
It had started with a phone call, but after Elizabeth gave them access to her computer they switched on her webcam and then watched as she logged into her internet banking.
The webcam had remained on for the next two days, as they followed her every move.
“Whatever you do,” they told her “do not speak to anyone about what you are doing. Otherwise you’ll compromise the investigation and put others in danger.”
In cases like this it is often difficult - frequently impossible - to get the money back, because scammers transfer money between multiple accounts to move and hide the money until it’s hard to trace.
It is always extremely stressful for those who are victims.
Usually found in her garden or spending time with her grandchildren, Elizabeth retreated into her home, as she tried to process what had happened.
“It was a really tough time for the whole family,” her daughter-in-law told me.
A week after Elizabeth came into the branch we were able to give her good news about her money.
Together we had done it. On this rare occasion, we were fortunate enough to be able to recover every cent! Each case we see is different, and is always investigated on a case-by-case basis but when we get a result like this, it is a wonderful outcome.
“Getting that money back was one of the luckiest days of my life,” she told me.
Elizabeth has now bounced back from the horrible experience and is much more aware of the danger of fraud.
“Everyone at ANZ was amazing and without their help I have no doubt I would have lost it all.”