Criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their tactics used to commit scams.
Fraudsters are now using a broad range of malicious activities to manipulate or trick victims into making security mistakes or divulging sensitive information. Scammers will commonly pose as a major bank, tax authority or other reputable service company and then convince the customer to provide sensitive personal information, authorise transactions or make a payment.
Bank impersonation scams are a type of scam that the ACCC’s Scamwatch are particularly concerned about, following recent alarming reports of Australians losing their life savings. In 2022, Scamwatch received 14,603 reports of bank impersonation scams, resulting in more than $20 million in losses.
Scammers are going to great lengths to look and sound like a legitimate bank, such as using new technology which makes the call or text appear to come from the bank’s legitimate phone number. Before contacting someone, they may also do their research and have well-thought-out details at hand, such as names and partial bank card or bank account numbers. Scammers may even introduce themselves as a bank employee using names and job titles obtained from platforms such as LinkedIn. All of these tactics allow the scammer to gain the customer’s trust as they sound more authentic.
Knowing what to look out for is the best way to avoid falling victim to one of these scams. Here are some tactics of a typical bank impersonation scam:
- Unsolicited contact, usually by phone or SMS
- Person pretending to be from a fraud security team
- They present you with an urgent problem, such as suspicious activity on your account or restricted access
- They will ask you to provide personal information, such as your online banking information
- They tell you that you’ll receive a code and ask you to repeat this
- The code may authorise a transaction or password change, providing the scammer with access to your bank account
Important things to remember:
- Never share your login details with anyone
- Never share an SMS or email code from your bank with anyone
- Be on high alert if you are being asked to transfer funds to another account
- Check contact information and bank details for yourself using a trusted source. If you think you’re on the phone with a scammer, hang up and call the bank yourself on a trusted number.
- Avoid using phone numbers from text messages, contact your bank directly using a trusted source.
Having cyber insurance is one more step you can take to protect yourself against a range of cyber risks, such as impersonation scams. Speak to one of our brokers today to find out which insurers can provide the right level of cyber cover for you and your family, or your business.