The last couple of decades have seen huge changes in how we do our banking and pay for goods and services. Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of new technology to generate a number of scams that are potentially very costly and can result in losses.
These scams aim to steal your account information and your money. Many of these scams can look and sound like the real thing, but there are ways of picking up on the warning signs so that you don’t lose out.
Some common scams
Requests for your account information (“phishing”) scams
Phishing emails are fake emails usually pretending to be from banks or other financial institutions. They make up some reason for you to give your account details and then use these details to steal your money.
Some common warning signs
You receive an email claiming to be from a financial institution. This message may seem to be from your bank or from a bank that you don’t have an account with. The email contains a link which leads you to a website where you are prompted to enter your bank account details. In addition:
- The email does not address you by your proper name.
- The email might contain typing errors and grammatical mistakes.
- The email might claim that your details are needed for a security and maintenance upgrade, to ‘verify’ your account or to protect you from a fraud threat.
- The email might even state that you are due to receive a refund for a bill or other fee that it claims you have been charged.
Phoney Fraud Alert
A phoney fraud alert is similar to a phishing scam. It can come in the form of an email or a phone call claiming to be from your bank or financial institution. The scammer will usually tell you that your credit card or account has been cancelled because it was involved in criminal activity, or because they suspect your card or details have been stolen.
The scammer will ask you to confirm your credit card or account details so the ‘bank’ can ‘investigate’. You may be advised to contact a fake fraud investigations body, and discouraged from contacting your bank or credit union.
If you receive an email, it may ask you to visit a website to confirm your credit card details or to find out more information on the supposed ‘fraud’ to your account.
What you can do as a Member
There are a few things that you can do, which will help you to avoid these types of fraud. Please take the time to read the following hints and tips.
- If you receive an email claiming to be from a bank or other financial institution that asks you to enter your account details—delete it! Community First Credit Union will NEVER send an email like this.
- If the email appears to be from Community First Credit Union, and you think it might be genuine, telephone us on 1300 13 22 77 and let us know about the email and ask our advice.
- Do NOT call any telephone numbers that are listed in the email.
- If you want to access Community First Credit Union online, use a bookmarked link or type www.communityfirst.com.au in yourself: NEVER follow a link in an email.
- Check the website address carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with very similar addresses.
- Never enter your personal, credit card or online account information on a website that you are not certain is genuine.
- Never send your personal, credit card or online account details through an email.
- Always keep a record of all your transactions and review your account statement thoroughly.
To avoid Internet fraud
- Install software to protect your computer from viruses and keep it up to date
- Avoid doing your internet banking at public computers (Libraries or internet cafes)
- Choose passwords that would be difficult to guess even to people that know you
- Beware of free websites and downloads as they can install harmful programs without you knowing
You can also refer to Visa's Quick Guide to Safer Shopping which will provide you with:
- Tips for secure online shopping
- Tips on how to protect yourself from email and phone scams
- A checklist to test your security IQ
For more information
At Community First Credit Union, we are serious about protecting our Members from fraud. If you suspect fraud, contact us immediately. For more information on fighting fraud, visit www.scamwatch.gov.au