Australians warned to beware of phone scams

25 May 2018

Australians are urged to be on guard against unscrupulous, unsolicited callers, claiming to represent the Australian Banking Association and asking for bank details to issue a ‘refund’, survey customer satisfaction or record banking history.

According to the ACCC every year 33,000 Australians are targeted by scammers in this particular way, with callers pretending to represent banks and other financial institutions, with recent estimates placing the cost to victims at over $4.7 million. This scam targeting the ABA is ongoing and was first reported in 2016. Banks often encounter this type of scam, with callers claiming to contact customers on their behalf.

Some of the techniques used by these scammers include:

  • Asking who you bank with, how long you have banked with them and your level of satisfaction
  • Asking for personal and banking details, including your name and driver’s licence number, bank account or credit card number, PINs or internet banking login
  • Telling people they are owed a ‘refund’ for overcharged bank fees but they have to pay a fee for it. They ask people to send money via post or Western Union.

Executive Director of Consumer Policy Christine Cupitt said that it was important customers remain vigilant against scammers even if they claim to be from reputable organisations such as banks or associations.

“We’ve seen a concerning rise in the number of people falsely claiming to be from the ABA, preying on unsuspecting victims and asking for them personal financial details,” Ms Cupitt said.

“The ABA, or any member bank, will never call members of the public seeking information about their personal bank accounts or security information.

“If you think you’ve given your personal information to a scammer we urge you to urgently contact your financial institution.

“It’s vitally important that Australians keep their financial identity safe by following important measures such as not giving out your PIN, deleting spam e-mails, keeping antivirus software up to date and not responding to requests from unknown phone numbers.

“This week is ‘National Scams Awareness Week’, a timely reminder that if you think you’ve been the target of scammers, or indeed the victim of one, you should report it immediately to ACCC’s www.scamwatch.gov.au,” she said.

Tips to protect your financial identity

  • Don’t provide your financial details, including PIN or internet banking login or password to anyone.
  • Guard the following identity information carefully and only provide to trusted people and entities: date of birth, current address, driver’s licence number and passport details.
  • Delete spam and scam e-mail – if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Keep your anti-virus and firewall software up-to-date.
  • Do not respond to requests that ask you to call unknown or unverified phone numbers.
  • Be very careful about clicking on links in emails. Do not use links to access trusted websites. Enter the correct address for websites into the address bar of your browser.

ENDS
Contact: Rory Grant 0475 741 007

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