Scammers are becoming more sophisticated day-by-day, finding new ways to trick people into sharing private information which they can then use to their own advantage.

For example, a scammer no longer needs to obtain all your information at once. If they can get you to confirm your address and phone number, they can then sell that information to other online criminals who include it in a huge database of personal and financial details.

Once they have enough of these details, scammers can build a complete profile which they can then use to order credit cards, purchase items online and even apply for a loan in your name.

Scammers have taken to impersonating financial institutions, including Bank of us, and advised the person receiving the call that they are “entitled to a fee refund” before requesting details of their account number, debit and/or credit card for crediting the refund to (which a financial institution would never request). 

Simple ways to spot a scam

The golden rule when it comes to scam spotting is trust your instincts. If in doubt, just hang up the phone/delete the email or SMS. Things to look out for:

  • There is a sense of urgency or threat to the message – “your bank account has been accessed”, “your bank account has been locked” “a payment has been made from your account. If this was not you, please call (phone number)”.
  • The message looks different to other messages in the SMS thread, such as different wording or phrases used.
  • The message may contain a suspicious looking link. Never click on links.
  • The caller will tell you to transfer money to a different account to ‘keep it safe’ or for ‘further investigation’. This is not standard procedures for a bank. It is a scam.

Think you can spot a scam? Take the quiz! 

The Australian Cyber Security Centre has created an online quiz so you can test your scam spotting skills. Give it a go! 

How to report a scam

In Australia you can report a suspected scam directly to the Australian Government through the Scam Watch website.

Help! I think a scammer has my details

If you think you may have inadvertently provided a scammer with your financial details, particularly credit card details, please contact us immediately. We can check your transaction history for you, and if necessary cancel and re-issue any cards.