Community & Business

19 February, 2024

Beware of bank scams!

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank is warning the community about bank impersonation scams.

By Nicholas Croker, Cadet Journalist

Jason Gordon, Head of Fraud Prevention, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank
Jason Gordon, Head of Fraud Prevention, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank is warning the community about bank impersonation scams, of which more than $20 million was reported lost from 14,603 customers in 2022, according to ScamWatch.

Scams are increasingly sophisticated, coming via phone call, SMS, email or social media post, search engine result or advertisement. Customers and communities are urged to educate themselves about the rising threat of bank impersonation scams. These scams have a number of common sings that reveal them. Firstly, there is a sense of urgency or a threat within the message, like ‘your account has been accessed’, or ‘your account has been locked’. Secondly, the messages in the SMS thread are inconsistent, using different wording, phrases, or grammar. The message may contain a suspicious link, such as one containing a random sequence of characters. The SMS may contain a number to call, but it is always safest to independently verify your banks number. Lastly, a caller telling you to transfer money or asking for personal and account details, for whatever reason, is highly suspicious.

A bank will never ask a customer for this information over the phone unprompted.

Banks alert customers to know active scams on their websites. Bendigo Bank recently shared an example of scammers targeting customers via an email which included Bendigo Bank images and branding (similar to that pictured below).

This particular scam asked recipients to verify or update accounts, with links directing victims to a fake website where their details could be harvested by criminals for various fraud and scams.

ScamWatch also reports spoofing as a popular method of scam. There was a reported loss to spoof scams of $169 million in 2022, a significant increase from previous years.

“Spoofing is when phone calls appear to come from legitimate numbers and SMS messages appear in the same conversation thread as genuine communications, making it very difficult for people to detect genuine communications.

“Bank impersonation scams really erode the trust in bank communications, making it difficult for us to contact our customers when we need to, and they are putting pressure on our customers to try to discern what’s real and what’s a scam.” It is important to stay vigilant and informed against bank scams.

“To combat digital crime, it is encouraged to be cautious and always verify the legitimacy of any communication, especially when it involves banking and personal details.

“Please remember the bank will never ask for your details, or to transfer money, download software or login via a link sent through email or SMS. “If you are speaking to someone claiming to be from [your bank] and you are unsure if the caller is legitimate, hang up and contact your bank directly.” Bendigo Bank recommends stopping scammers in their tracks by following ScamWatch’s advice:

STOP – don’t give money or personal information to anyone if unsure.

THINK – ask yourself could the message or call be fake?

PROTECT – act quickly if something feels wrong.

See full story in print edition.


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