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Protect yourself when banking online

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Protect yourself when banking online

If someone asks you to share your Internet Banking screen or provide your login details (including your SMS One Time Password) * STOP! * do not provide access, do not provide your login details. 

Could it be a remote access scam?  Could it be a romance scam?  Could it be an investment scam?

Read about some of the most common types of scams below, so you don't become a victim.

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  What is a Remote Access Scam?

Remote access scams occur when you are contacted via phone, text or email by a scammer, falsely claiming to be from a familiar company, such as a bank, telco, software company or government agency.

They'll often provide a fake but credible story, to trick you into giving them remote access to your computer or device. This gives the scammer full access to your computer – and personal information – from a remote location.

What to look for:
Scammers use a variety of ways to contact victims, including online “pop ups” warning about a virus, telephone calls, and phishing emails. Text messages and emails are also used to engage with and trick people.

The scammer may initially sound professional and knowledgeable about the company or product they’re calling you about, but they could also be overly persistent and claim you’re being unreasonable or even become abusive if you don't do what they ask. Any behaviour or attitude like this is a red flag that it’s time to end the interaction.

Protect yourself:

  • Never give an unsolicited caller or contact, remote access to your computer
  • Never share your login details with anyone
  • Never provide any personal details over the phone, by text message or email to an unsolicited caller
  • Never download an App if requested by the caller, there has been an increase of remote access scams on devices such as tablets and phones.
  • If you receive an unexpected phone call, text or email about your computer and remote access is requested, hang up or delete immediately – even if they mention a well-known company or entity
  • Scammers can obtain your number fraudulently, so you may still receive scam calls even if you have a private number or are on the Australian Government's Do Not Call Register.
  • Make sure your computer is protected with regularly updated anti-virus software that you’ve bought and installed yourself
  • Scammers often use popular business collaboration tools as a way of remotely taking control of your computer, including TeamViewer and AnyDesk. Use these with caution and before giving permissions to other users, be certain you know who you’re communicating with.

If you think you have been scammed, change your Internet Banking password immediately and contact your financial institution.

Real life story: I lost $520 to fake 'Telstra' employee

  What is a Text or Email Scam?

Text Messages & Email Scams can be quite convincing and professionally executed, often appearing to be direct replicas of the organisations branding.  Messages might include a link to direct you to a fraudulent website or try to obtain your personal information. 

Protect yourself:

  • Remember, we'll never ask you for your banking information by email or text message.
  • To be safe, always navigate directly to our Internet Banking yourself, by our website swcredit.com.au, rather than using any links in communications.
  • Stop and think before you click.  If you receive a communication advising you are owed a refund out of the blue or something that seems too good to be true - STOP and do not click on any links or attachments.  Instead call on the organisation’s officially listed phone number to verify the communication.
  • Report any suspicious emails or text messages to fraud@swcredit.com.au then delete them straight after. Do not reply or engage with them.
  • Be aware that scams can also come via the telephone with people pretending to be from a reputable organisation who try and gain access to your computer, bank account and money. In this case the best thing you can do is hang up and call on an organisation’s officially listed phone number to verify the communication.

If you think you have been scammed, change your Internet Banking password immediately and contact your financial institution.

  What is a Lottery, Investment or Unexpected Money Scam?

Unexpected money scams usually promise you a significant share of a large sum of money, or other reward, in return for a small up-front payment.  They may request your personal and/or financial details, and they can also be known as ‘advance fee fraud’ scams.

What to look for:
There are different types of unexpected money scams, but they all promise the lure of some greater reward, which could be:

  • an unexpected lottery win
  • an inheritance
  • cryptocurrenty investment
  • a share in profits from a business investment.

Other signs to look out for:

  • You receive an unexpected message by email, text message or other online method that promises an extraordinary reward or opportunity (for example, you’ve won a lottery that you don’t remember entering or you’re offered an unbelievably good business opportunity).
  • You’re told that you need to pay an up-front fee or provide personal details to receive a much greater reward.
  • The email looks convincing and may use official looking letterhead and logos but it isn’t addressed to you personally. The offer pressures you to make a decision quickly, and it may also contain spelling and grammatical errors.
  • You’re asked to provide your bank account details, copies of identity documents as verification and to pay a series of fees, charges or taxes to help release or transfer the money out of the country, through your bank.
  • Ad's on Social media platforms, fake celebrity endorsements and fake friend / family endorsements.
  • Fake online trading platforms that are made to look legitimate.

Protect yourself:

  • If you haven’t entered a lottery or competition, you can’t win it.
  • If someone asks you to pay money up-front in order to receive a prize or winnings, it’s almost always a scam. Legitimate lotteries do not require you to pay a fee to collect winnings.
  • If you think you’re speaking to a friend on social media, call them, or find another way to contact them before acting on any advice that might result in you giving away your personal details or money (your friends social media account has most likely been hacked)
  • Verify the identity of the contact by calling the relevant organisation directly – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Do not use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.
  • Do an internet search on any of the details of the competition – many scams can be identified this way.
  • Never send money or give credit card, online account details, or copies of important personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
  • Avoid anything that requests payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency like Bitcoin. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
  • Remember there are no legitimate get-rich-quick schemes.
  • Don’t open messages or click on links or videos if you don’t know the sender or if you’re not expecting the message. Watch out for messages that promise you money or present hard luck or exotic stories offering you a share in millions of dollars.
  • Use a spam filter to catch fake messages before they get to your inbox and delete spam that gets through without opening it.
  • Don’t accept friend or contact requests on social media from people you don’t know. Scammers may use your information on social media, to make their messages more appealing or appear more genuine.

If you think you have been scammed, contact your financial institution immediately.

Real life story: Davin's fictional Facebook lottery win

Real life story: I lost $50,000 in fake online trading

  What is a  Romance / Dating Scam?

Not everyone you meet online is who they claim to be. Protect yourself against romance scams on social media, online dating websites or via email.

Romance scammers set out to steal your heart in order to defraud you. They usually create fake online identities designed to lure you in. Once they’ve gained your trust, often investing several months of close contact, they use your newfound relationship to request that you send them money or gifts.

They may plead with you, asking for cash to help with a non-existent health, travel or family problem, or ask you to transfer assets into their name – using manipulative, psychologically controlling and deceitful tactics to get what they want.

What to look for:
Met someone online? Initial warning signs that things may not be what they seem include:

  • Over the top, intense declarations of love to create a false sense of trust and understanding
  • Online profiles that don’t match what they tell you
  • Badly written, erratic or vague messages
  • Scammers commonly use social media platforms, such as Facebook, in addition to dating apps, such as Tinder. Once a relationship is established, they may try to move the conversation to email or instant messaging
  • A change in tone – from affectionate at the beginning to desperate or threatening if you don't agree to their requests
  • Preying on vulnerabilities, such as isolation, age, financial hardship, language barriers. Scammers also target those who may be particularly vulnerable or lonely due to a recent change in a relationship or personal circumstances
  • Requesting you perform criminal activity, such as drug trafficking, money or device laundering, or that you enable other criminal pursuits.

Protect yourself:

  • Never send money, or share passwords, credit card or account details with anyone you don’t trust
  • Research your potential partner online via Google or social media apps:
      - Try a Google reverse image search to identify if someone else owns the photos you’ve been sent
      - Look at their photos and connections to see if the people and places mentioned match their profile
  • While some scammers will avoid opportunities to meet in person, many do still physically meet their victims or engage in video calls. Just because someone is willing to meet their target face-to-face or over Skype doesn’t mean they are genuine
  • Be cautious when sharing personal images or videos with online admirers. Scammers can resort to blackmailing their victims if their financial demands are not met
  • Speak to your family and friends about your online relationship. They may be able to offer perspective and identify red flags that you may not have noticed or are struggling to accept.

If you think you have been scammed, contact your financial institution immediately.

Real life story: Georgina's Facebook fiancé leaves her flat broke

  What is an Online Shopping Scam?

More and more Australian households are shopping online. Scammers are cashing in on this trend, by setting up fake websites and deceiving people into buying from them. Once an order is placed and payment made, shoppers might receive a fake, inferior product compared to what was promised, or nothing at all.

Classified scams are a subset of this type of scam, where scammers pose as genuine sellers, posting fake ads on either a classifieds website, newspaper, or via email or social media.

What to look out for:

  • Be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true, such as luxury items or popular brands being offered at unusually low prices
  • Don’t rush or be pressured by ‘limited offers’ or end-of-sale ‘countdowns’ – scammers always try to create a sense of urgency
  • Online stores or classifieds that request you use non-secure payment methods. These include wire or bank transfers, money orders, preloaded gift cards and electronic currencies like Bitcoin (as it is rare you’ll be able to recover money sent this way).

Protect yourself:

  • Navigate directly to an online store using your web browser, rather than by clicking an email or social media link
  • Google the merchant, its online store and its products to check their reviews
  • Read the comments on a store’s social media ads to see what other people have to say about them
  • Regularly check your statements. If you’ve been shopping online, keep an eye on your transaction history and report anything suspicious as soon as possible. A small, unauthorised charge can be the first sign of credit card theft – scammers often do it to check if your account is active.
  • If you’re not familiar with the site, be cautious of unbelievably low prices, missing privacy policies, terms and conditions or refund information, or sites that limit your payment options. It should easy enough to contact customer service if you need help – even better if they have a phone number or physical address. A quick web search can surface reviews and other buyer’s experiences.
  • Think twice before connecting to free public Wi-Fi networks. Cybercriminals like to lurk on public networks and intercept your activities, or even set up rogue hotspots for you to connect to, so never shop or bank online using public Wi-Fi.
  • Before you browse or shop online, ensure your computer’s anti-virus is up-to-date.
  • If you need to create accounts with online stores, make sure you use strong and unique passwords – don’t reuse your internet banking, email or social media passwords
  • Generally, debit cards don’t offer the same level of buyer protection as other payment methods, so it’s recommended to pay with a credit card or payment system such as PayPal.
  • If shopping for second hand items from social media or another online marketplace, ask as many questions as possible upfront, look at the seller’s profile and past feedback; never share your bank account details or passwords, or transfer a deposit without seeing what you’re buying first.

If you think you have been scammed, change your Internet Banking password immediately and contact your financial institution.

Real life story: We lost $160 on a fake BBQ

  What is a Job Scam?

High-paying jobs requiring low effort are the dream, but rarely exist.

With this type of scam, scammers typically contact you via email, phone or letter and ask for money in the form of a fee in exchange for guaranteed employment.

They lure you in with jobs that require little effort for a high financial reward, and that appear to make money quickly.

Once you pay the fee you may not receive any job offers or are unlikely to be paid for any work you complete.

What to look out for:

  • The scammer contacts you by email, phone or letter and offers you a job that requires minimal effort for a high salary, or a guaranteed way to make money fast
  • Legitimate job sites may also unintentionally post scam job ads
  • You may be told that to secure the job you must make an initial investment or pay for resources. You’ll unlikely receive anything in exchange for your payment
  • You may be tricked into committing a criminal offence, such as money laundering. You’ll be asked to provide your bank account details to receive a payment. You will then be asked to transfer the money received to another account and be promised a percentage of this amount as a commission.

Protect yourself:

  • Be wary of job offers via email, phone or letter from people you haven’t met or companies you don’t know
  • Be alert when looking on legitimate job sites as they can also post bogus employment vacancies
  • Be cautious of 'work from home' opportunities, particularly those that offer a 'guaranteed income' or require you to make a payment in exchange for work
  • Do some research on the company offering the role to ensure they are legitimate and currently trading
  • Be suspicious if the role is offered to you without an interview, or at least a discussion about your experience and suitability
  • Speak to your friends and family to get their opinion on your potential job offer. They can help identify any signs of risk and red flags.

If you think you have been scammed, contact your financial institution immediately.

  Can you spot a scam?

Anyone could fall victim and no one is ‘too smart to be scammed’. Always stop and ask yourself, ‘could this be a scam?’ and if you’re ever in doubt, decline the contact or hang up the phone — it is often the safest option.

The ACCC has produced a series of videos with tips and tricks on how to spot a scam, and to test people’s awareness of scams.

Are you able to spot the signs of a scam when you see them? Challenge yourself with these five common scam examples 'Spot the Scam'.

  Additional Information: