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ABA calls for vigilance against scammers

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Reporter 2 minute read

The industry association has urged Australians to be on guard against “unscrupulous” and “unsolicited” scammers who are falsely claiming to represent the Australian Banking Association.

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has warned that there has been an increase in phone scams asking for bank details in order to issue a “refund”, survey customer satisfaction or record banking history.

The scam was first reported in 2016.

According to the ABA, some of the techniques used by the scammers include:

  • asking which institution the customer banks with, how long they’ve have banked with the institution and their level of satisfaction;
  • asking for personal and banking details, including names and driver’s licence numbers, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs or internet banking login details;
  • telling people they are owed a “refund” for overcharged bank fees, but they have to pay a fee for it, which is to be paid via post or Western Union.

The ABA’s executive director of consumer policy, Christine Cupitt, urged Australians to remain vigilant against the scammers.

“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 their 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.”

Ms Cupitt encouraged Australians who believe they’ve been affected by the scams to contact their financial institution and report the incident to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

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

“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.”

The ABA offered tips to help Australians protect their financial identity:

  • Don’t provide 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 email. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Keep antivirus 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. 

According to the ACCC, approximately 33,000 Australians are affected by scammers each year, with an estimated cost to consumers of over $4.7 million.

[Related: Email scam warning for VIC home buyers]

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