Remember when Service NSW was breached by hackers and people had their private information stolen? This Sydney man lost thousands of dollars because of it, in a story that deserves its own Tinder Swindler-esque Netflix special.
Traffic reporter Will Bottom was one of about 103,000 people that had their data stolen in the 2020 breach. One day he woke up to find $19,000 missing from his bank account.
“I saw there had been two transactions, one for $9000 and one for $10,000,” he told news.com.au.
At this point I would probably go into cardiac arrest but Will did the smart thing and called up his bank.
“They said it would take a few days to process where it had gone,” he said.
“It ended up being from two over-the-counter withdrawals at separate banks in Eastgardens and Miranda.
“Someone had made a replica of my licence but instead it was their photo, it had my name, my date of birth, my signature.”
The hacker hadn’t just stolen Will’s money, but his identity too.
It’s at this point that Will went to NSW Police and what followed was a 12-month investigation. The scammer grew bolder, frauding others and stealing cars in Will’s name.
“Every second day I had a call from the police asking if I had bought a car,” he recounted to news.com.au.
“I was getting these toll notices and speeding fines. I own a car and a scooter, when this was all over I went to the Roads and Maritime and there were all these vehicles registered to my name that weren’t mine.
“Then I started getting calls from debt collectors — the scammers had taken out loans and not repaid. The debt collectors were calling me so much I went back to the police to make another complaint.”
The scammer was eventually found because of a traffic infringement, of all things. But the horror doesn’t end for Will, who now has to deal with the realities of having an identity that was stolen — like the implications it could have on buying a house.
“In the end, it was a complete identity fraud, they call it identity takeover. I couldn’t do anything, they were completely in control,” he said.
Remind you of anything? A certain other swindler with multiple identities who was caught on a minor fraud offence, rather than the huge scams he put dozens of women through?
Netflix, you need to slide into Will’s DMs stat. I need a doco on this terrifying story.