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Don’t let scammers ruin your Christmas

<strong>Don’t let scammers ruin your Christmas</strong>

19 December 2022

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) is warning people to be on high alert for scammers over the holiday season as these criminals target unsuspecting consumers.

ABA Chief Executive Officer, Anna Bligh said scammers can contact customers pretending to be from a bank, but banks will never ask people to transfer funds over the phone.

“Scammers are sophisticated users of behavioural psychology. They use every trick in the book to convince you to hand over your personal details and to take your money. At particular risk are the vulnerable and the elderly but it’s important to remember that these criminals don’t discriminate, and everyone is at risk,” Ms Bligh said.

“Scammers prey on busy people, so we are asking individuals to pause to question the authenticity of a call, an email, a person who claims to be from a trusted organisation. At this time of the year, with Christmas upon us, we’re encouraging people to be extra vigilant.”

According to data from the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) there have been 215,505 scams worth $527 million in 2022. That is an average of 19,591 scams a month worth $47.9 million. Actual scams and losses are expected to be vastly higher as ACCC estimate that only about 13 per cent of scams are reported.

“Consumers need to be alert to all types of scams including shopping scams at this time of year. We also see a large number of so-called impersonation or spoofing scams which involve scammers impersonating the phone number of legitimate businesses including banks, in SMS and voice calls,” Ms Bligh said.

“The scammers use this technique to gain a person’s trust and to convince people to transfer their funds to another bank account,” she said. In December 2021 the five top scams by number were

In December 2021 the five top scams by number were:

Online shopping1384
Identity theft987
False billing96

In the same period the five top scams by value were:

Investment scams$26,779,496
Dating scams$9,377,771
False billing$2,376,504
Remote access scams$1,056,579
Identity theft$1,015,084

Ms Bligh said there are a number of things individuals can do to protect themselves against scams:  

  • remember banks will never ask people to transfer funds to another account over the phone;
  • never provide banking information or passwords over the phone;
  • avoid clicking on suspicious emails, links or texts;
  • don’t give money or personal information to anyone if unsure;
  • immediately report any suspicious activity to your bank. 

She said it is important to remember that a bank will never ask for any account or personal details by text or email, nor will they threaten to cancel your account if you don’t pay immediately.

One of the most important steps customers can take to prevent scams today is to use PayID and apply measures such as two-factor identification.

Banks invest heavily in systems to protect customers and the financial system, including significant investment towards building resilience including against frauds and scams.

Australian banks are working to protect you against scams

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