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Stop and check before you fall prey to scammers

Stop and check before you fall prey to scammers

Online scams are on the up, but you can protect yourself – and your business - if you know what to look for.

If you received an unexpected call from the Australian Taxation Office saying you had a tax debt and demanding that you 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) projects that, in 2019, losses from scams are expected to exceed $532 million, surpassing half a billion dollars for the first time.

According to Scamwatch, over $16m will be lost by people who gave their personal information away to scammers in 2019.

Australians continue to spend 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 that, while overall card fraud is showing a slight decline, ‘card-not-present’ fraud has increased to nearly 85% of total card fraud in its latest report from 2019.

Scams are now perpetrated by well-organised networks that 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.

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.

Sometimes, fraudsters may send ‘hoax’ messages that appear to come from a legitimate business, in order to trick you into revealing sensitive information – we will never ask you to do that.

Here are some examples of scam messages.

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 for missing funds or unexpected transactions 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, complex password, make it complex and change it regularly.
  • Protect your log on details and don’t share your NetBank client number and passwords
  • 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 password’ for any of your online services if you use online banking on a shared computer

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 13 2221 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.