Australian Bankers' Association Inc.

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Protect yourself against scams

Banks are supporting the Government’s awareness week

Sydney, 19 March, 2012: The Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) is supporting efforts to help consumers protect themselves from criminals who aim to scam the public.

The ABA is supporting the awareness campaign “National Consumer Fraud Week”, starting today until 25 March, coordinated by the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT).

Unfortunately criminals will try many ways to scam you, whether it is an approach face-to-face, via mail or e-mail or through online social networks.

Steven Münchenberg, CEO of the ABA, said: “It’s really important to question an e-mail or a message that doesn’t seem quite right or makes an offer or a promise that seems too good to be true.”

“The criminals will try and hook you in by offering a great prize or pretend to be a traveller overseas who needs help. Don’t reply and don’t send any money.”

“We have also seen hoax e-mails which claim to be sent from your bank. These hoax e-mails ask for confidential security information, such as your Internet banking logon details or PIN. Your bank will never e-mail you to ask for this information, so you should be immediately suspicious.”

“Consumers should also be aware of websites that ask for these details. These websites will often re-direct you to a replica of your bank’s website. Such websites are set up by fraudsters to steal the customer’s information.”

 Mr Münchenberg said banks work diligently to protect their customers from fraud perpetrated by criminals. Systems such as special detection software can flag if fraud is occurring. Banks can act immediately to limit losses and inform customers even before they may be aware there’s a problem.

Smart and safe Internet use can minimise customers’ exposure to becoming victims of this crime. There are steps people can take to make the criminal's job harder and to help spare people the inconvenience of becoming a victim of criminal or fraudulent activity.

Mr Münchenberg said: “It’s important to protect your ATM access, debit or credit card from criminals who skim card information which is then used to create fake cards and transact online. Always be careful to shield your PIN when using an ATM or EFTPOS terminal. Use a free hand to cover the key pad while you enter your PIN.”

 “You should treat your card like it’s cash and make sure you never lose sight of it. If possible, don’t give your card to a waiter or shop assistant and let them walk out of your sight.”

Bank customers are protected from loss in genuine fraud cases. Account holders are not liable for losses resulting from unauthorised transactions where it is clear that the user has not contributed to the loss. There is usually an investigation by the bank to determine how the fraud has occurred.

Banks and police work together to identify, disrupt and investigate this type of criminal activity.

Tips to protect your financial identity:

  • Don’t provide your PIN or Internet banking login or password to anyone;
  • Delete spam and scam e-mail  – if the offer sounds too good to be true – it probably is;
  • Keep your anti-virus and firewall software up-to-date;
  • Always logon to Internet banking by typing in your bank’s full web address, i.e. the URL;
  • Don’t use public computers for Internet banking, e.g. Internet cafes, libraries or hotels; and
  • Guard your identity information carefully and only provide to trusted people and entities: date of birth, current address, driver’s licence number and passport details.

The ABA, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have worked together to produce a website called: www.protectfinancialid.org.au which also provides tips on how you can avoid becoming a victim of scam.

The ACFT has a website which publishes information about scams: www.scamwatch.gov.au

For further information: 

Heather Wellard, ABA PR.

T: 02 8298 0411

M: 0409 830 439 

ENDS

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