Westpac scam: Father-of-two lost his life savings in a ‘brilliant’ scam


Father-of-two who lost his life savings in a ‘brilliant’ scam reveals how he and his bank were outsmarted by the con artists

  • Waine Sauermann, from New South Wales, lost $27,380 in sophisticated scam 
  • After initial withdrawal, the father’s bank told him that his card had been blocked
  • However, he didn’t get a new one and a scammer then tricked him out of his cash 

A father-of-two has revealed how he was left penniless after a ‘brilliant’ scammer outsmarted him and his bank.   

Waine Sauermann from NSW lost $27,380 and was left with just three dollars in his account. 

It started after he received a message from Westpac saying his card had been stopped because of a suspicious withdrawal. 

However, he went online and discovered there had been two $700 withdrawals. 

Father-of-two Waine Sauermann, from New South Wales, lost $27,380 and was left with just three dollars in his account

He visited his local Westpac branch and was told his card would be blocked and a new one would be sent to him. 

Seven days later, he was still waiting for his card and decided to ring the bank again. 

However, they scammers beat him to it and a man called Ben rang him – though Mr Sauermann was in for a nasty surprise.  

‘So I get a phone call, ‘hey it’s Ben from the bank’,’ he told A Current Affair.

‘(He) asked me for all the normal stuff a bank asks you for, like your customer ID number and then gets me to read (it) out; says he’s going to put the $1,400 back in my account and issue me a new card.

‘So I couldn’t be happier, so I read out the three codes. He’s like ‘yeah, no that’s all good, hang up, go back to work’.’

To his dismay, he later realised that the call from Ben was a scam and called Westpac again.  

‘So eventually at 1.30am I get onto someone. They say, ‘don’t worry your online account is shut and just don’t worry about it and ring up the bank in the morning’. So I’m like ‘phew’,’ he said.

But the situation took a turn for the worse in the morning when he saw money flying out of his bank account.  

It started after he received a message from Westpac saying his card had been stopped because of a suspicious withdrawal. However, he went online and discovered there had been two $700 withdrawals

It started after he received a message from Westpac saying his card had been stopped because of a suspicious withdrawal. However, he went online and discovered there had been two $700 withdrawals

The bank told Mr Sauermann that he probably wouldn't get his money back, before eventually refunding him

The bank told Mr Sauermann that he probably wouldn’t get his money back, before eventually refunding him

He eventually decided to go down to the bank, only to be told that he was effectively broke.  

‘She’s (the bank teller) like, ‘it’s all gone. You’ve got $3 in your account’,’ Sauermann said.

‘At this point I’m shaking like a child, you know, just in shock. So I finish off with the bank and then go to the police station.’

Detective Acting Superintendent Richard Puffett from New South Wales Police said scammers are getting smarter and consumers should ‘never accept a cold call’.

He added that police are still trying to piece together what happened in Mr Sauermann’s case.

The bank told Mr Sauermann that he probably wouldn’t get his money back, before eventually refunding him.  

A spokesperson added: ‘We’ve seen a recent spike in impersonation scams where scammers pose as a known business to trick you into sending them money or personal information. 

‘Customers should be wary of any unexpected calls, SMS or emails claiming to be from their bank or other reputable organisation, and always stop to consider what you’re being asked to do. If in doubt, hang up and call back on a publicly listed number to confirm if the call was genuine.’

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