A COMMONWEALTH Bank assistance line operator was more than helpful to a criminal who stole an Orange man’s identity and $2000 from his savings.
The victim learned a hard lesson after his wallet was stolen from the seat of his car and the thief hacked his account.
The victim locked his car, which was parked in the driveway of an Elsie Street home, and went to bed, only to be woken in the early hours of the morning to the sound of smashing glass.
The facts of the car break in and subsequent identity theft were handed to the Orange Local Court magistrate Terry Lucas on Thursday.
Inside the wallet was all of the victim’s keycards, medicare card and about $100 in cash.
A short time after the theft on May 16, at 3.10am, the thief, Everett Leslie Weatherall, of Walker Street, Waterloo, called the Commonwealth Bank assistance line in order to gain access to the victim’s account.
He pretended he was the victim and managed to convince the operator to change the PIN code on his bank card, as well as the contact mobile phone number attached to the card, and changed the daily withdrawal limit.
A Commonwealth Bank spokesperson did not say how this was possible, but said in a statement “Commonwealth Bank regards customer privacy and security as a priority and the bank has a 100 per cent security guarantee.”
Weatherall phoned for a taxi at 3.56am and asked the driver to take him to the Commonwealth Bank ATM in Summer Street where he withdrew the maximum amount permitted, which was $2000.
Police launched an investigation using the mobile phone number used to call the Commonwealth Bank assistance line and traced it back to an alias used by Weatherall.
Officers then used phone transcripts, the recorded conversation between Weatherall and the bank, as well as CCTV footage from the cab and the ATM to arrest the 34-year-old.
He admitted to stealing the wallet but denied the identity theft.
He told police he was taking drugs and did not have the money to buy food and was going through a tough time.
Mr Lucas ordered Weatherall to pay $2000 in compensation to the victim, fined him $200 and gave him a 12-month suspended sentence.
“When you steal in this way the whole crux of society breaks down,” Mr Lucas said.
“I sincerely wish you the best for your future.”
The bank would not comment on whether the victim had been reimbursed and stated it was for privacy reasons.