Brisbane childcare worker sent to prison for ‘serious and sophisticated’ hacking scam
Brisbane childcare worker sent to prison for ‘serious and sophisticated’ hacking scam

Childcare worker sentenced for hacking scam

A former childcare worker from Narangba "broke into the proverbial Fort Knox" by hacking into a stolen iPhone and stealing hundreds of dollars in an act of sophisticated fraud.

Natasha Anne Hobbs, 34, pleaded guilty today to making fraudulent transactions amounting to $600 by using the National Australia Bank app on a stolen phone to transfer the money from the victim's account to her own.

The Pine Rivers Magistrates Court heard the victim lost his phone in Strathpine on August 19, 2019, and was unable to use the Find my iPhone feature as it was disabled shortly afterwards.

The victim then began to receive a series of messages from Credit Union Australia notifying him that someone had tried, and failed, to use the Apple Pay feature on his phone.

A few days later the victim started to receive two-factor authentication messages from the National Australia Bank, leading him to suspect he had been hacked.

Hobbs was able to transfer first $110, then $490, out of the victim's bank account on August 30.

Though the monetary figure was relatively low, the manner in which Hobbs acquired the money concerned Magistrate Trevor Morgan.

"(This offence) is in an entirely different league," Mr Morgan said.

"(It) is a very, very sophisticated breach of that security … She knows how to beat the system and has done it, so that makes it pretty serious."

The lawyer for the defence told the court Hobbs lacked the skill to carry out any such serious hacking and suggested that aspect of the crime may have been conducted by her partner who was a named suspect in the case, but was never charged.

Hobbs refused to speak on this point.

The court heard Hobbs had lived a fairly normal life as a married childcare worker, but fell down a hole of methamphetamine addiction following her divorce from and the death of her former husband.

She was convicted and sentenced to a suspended period of six months imprisonment and ordered to pay $600 in restitution.

Originally published as Childcare worker sent to prison for 'serious and sophisticated' hacking scam


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