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Stop and check before you fall prey to scammers

Stop and check before you fall prey to scammers

Online fraud is increasing, but there are ways to become more aware and protect yourself from scammers.

If you received an unexpected call from the Australian Taxation Office saying you had a tax debt that you had to pay immediately, what would you think?

Or if a company called and said they needed remote access to your computer or bank account to fix a service problem, what would you do?

Did you know

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) received almost 33,000 threat-based reports in 2017 and about 85% of scammers made contact by phone.

According to Scamwatch, over $4.7m was reported lost and more than 2800 people gave their personal information to scammers in 2017.

Australians are spending at record levels on their cards, and as merchants and consumers embrace online shopping, ‘card-not-present’ fraud is increasing, too.

The Australian Payments Network found ‘card-not-present’ fraud accounted for 78% of total card fraud in its latest report from 2016.

Scammers pretend to be from a government agency or well-known, trusted business. They use threats to pressure or scare you into giving them money or your personal information.

They may threaten you with fines, disconnecting your internet, arrest, court action or even deportation.

The scammers and their threats can seem genuine and frightening. They make you feel as if you’ve done something wrong or that there’s some urgency and you must do what they say immediately or suffer the consequences.

How scams work

From time to time, legitimate organisations, including CommBank, will send emails and text messages (SMS) to customers to update them with important information.

Sometimes, fraudsters may send ‘hoax’ messages that appear to come from a legitimate business, in order to trick you into revealing sensitive information.

It’s important to remember that CommBank will never send you a message asking you to confirm, update or disclose your personal or banking information.

Check out some examples of hoax messages here.

How to protect yourself with CommBank features

We have a range of different technologies to keep your personal information secure. But it’s also important that you do a few things to keep your money safe.

  • Check your bank account in the CommBank app or in NetBank
  • Turn Transaction Notifications on in the CommBank app and we'll tell you instantly when you pay or are charged for something on your credit card, so you can see your spend as it happens
  • Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and whenever you get a new bank card, make sure you activate it and set your PIN
  • Choose a unique password and update it regularly
  • Protect your log on details and don’t share your NetBank client number and passwords
  • Swipe where you can see your transaction being processed and ask for a receipt
  • Let us know if you are heading overseas by logging on to NetBank or the CommBank app so we can keep an eye out for suspicious activity on your accounts and cards
  • Don’t tick ‘remember my details’ if you use online banking on a shared computer

Our 100% security guarantee

We’ll cover any loss due to unauthorised transactions on your account, as long as you protect your cards, devices, client numbers, PINs, passwords and any other access methods, and immediately notify us of their loss, theft or misuse or any suspicious activity on your account.

What to do if you’re concerned

If you’re contacted unexpectedly and threatened by someone who says they’re from a government agency or trusted business, consider the possibility that it may be a scam.

Also, be vigilant to signs a fraudster may be attempting to port (transfer) your mobile phone number to a new device or carrier in order to intercept your messages.

Tell-tale signs of this are unexpected loss of signal or where your mobile phone displays 'SOS or emergency calls' only. Call us if you believe that this has happened to you.

Try not to feel pressured to act immediately. Before you say or do anything, stop and check if it’s for real.

For more tips and information about scams, where to get help or to report a scam, visit the Scamwatch website (

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. The commentary provided from external companies that are not a member of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Group of Companies (the CBA Group) does not represent an endorsement, recommendation, guarantee or advice in regard to any matter. The CBA Group does not accept any liability for losses or damage arising from any reliance on external companies and their products, services and material.