Liveline hears Dublin night nurse's money struggles after scammers 'took everything'

By Alex Dunne & Paul Moore

A heartbroken Dublin night nurse has been forced to return home to Poland after callous scammers "took everything" from her after a night shift.

Zuzanna told RTE's Liveline that all of her accounts were cleared out completely after accepting a scam phone call while she was exhausted from her shift in the Mater Hospital.

Scam calls have risen exponentially in 2020 and 2021, with thousands of people receiving the dummy calls each day from people claiming to be from, among other organisations: Revenue, the Department of Social Welfare, Gardaí or customs officers.

It has resulted in thousands of euros being lost by people across the country to criminals and, on Monday, we heard the heartbreaking tale of another one.

Zuzanna came to Ireland in 2007 with just one bag and €60 to her name, with a one-way ticket.

She had done a masters in teaching in her native Poland and began working as a cleaner and a carer in a nursing home.

She then moved on to a hospital as a carer, before then earning another masters to become a nurse.

But, after accepting a call that woke her up after she was asleep from work, Zuzanna lost all of her money.

She said: "They stole €6,600.

"As you said, I was finishing work after a night duty. Previously, I have only answered a scam call once and they said there was an issue in the tax office. But I hung up that time, you know that.

"The other day, they rang me while I was sleeping after being on night duty. I answered the phone and it was an automatic message asking me to hold in a threatening manner.

"They told me it was a 'last warning' for me, that my name came up in a criminal investigation.

"I was brainless, I waited for the operator and they were talking about how they were officers, they had badge numbers and case numbers. He described the case, saying my PPS was involved in money laundering and there was €180,000 in my name in debt and that there was an arrest warrant issued according to them."

Zuzanna took Joe through exactly what went through her head.

She said: "What happened was, the first thought I had was 'I can't lose my job.

"I was meant to go abroad tomorrow and I started crying hysterically.

"They told me then it was stolen identity, so they were going to 'protect me' and they told me to transfer my funds into a fake wallet app and they talked me through how to do it.

"They got access to my phone and were able to operate it from his computer. They told me step-by-step and I did it."

The scammers went scorched Earth on her accounts, and Zuzanna had to borrow money from her friends to be able to return home to Poland.

She said: "They took everything.

"They cleared me out completely. Savings accounts, current accounts. They said they would issue a new PPS number.

"I am going back to Poland tomorrow, but otherwise I will have a mental breakdown.

"My friends gave me money, so I'm going to go to visit my brother and mother.

"I am looking forward to hugging her."

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