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ACCC bank scam warning: What to check if your bank calls or texts you


Scammers can now make phone calls and texts appear to be from official bank services, with over $20 million in losses last year.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it is "incredibly concerned" after Scamwatch received 14,603 reports of bank impersonation scams in 2022.

The average loss from these scams was $22,000 but some people were tricked out of their life savings.

"We know of a man who lost over $500,000 after receiving a call from someone claiming to be from a major bank's security department, wanting to know if a payment had been authorised," ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe said in a media statement.

"In another case, a man lost $38,000 after receiving a scam text message about a suspicious transaction."

The scam text appeared in the same conversation thread as legitimate messages from his bank.”

Deputy chair Catriona Lowe, ACCC

What to watch out for

Bank impersonation scam phone numbers and text messages can be very convincing.

But some warning signs to look out for include any calls, texts or emails that:

  • Ask you to transfer money
  • Ask for your account or personal details
  • Include a link or phone number
  • Use different wording or phrases to past texts or emails

Another red flag is if there is a sense of urgency to the phone call or message.

For example, if the scammer claims to be looking into fraud or says they have frozen your account and need details from you immediately.

Be wary of messages that demand immediate action and threaten consequences for not complying.”

Security expert George Andreopoulos, Finder X

Lowe said scammers could use recent data breaches to create urgency or cause people to panic.

"Following recent mass data breaches, many Australians were encouraged to monitor their accounts for suspicious activity," she said.

"Sadly, this has led to consumers acting on these scam calls and text messages out of fear that their accounts have been compromised."

What to do if you're affected by a bank scam

If you get a phone call or text message that's suspicious or asks for sensitive details, the ACCC said to contact your bank "using contact details you have found independently".

You can also report scams to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and Scamwatch.

If you have given personal details to a scammer, contact IDCARE for support.

And check your credit report for any unfamiliar details that could show someone has applied for credit in your name.

Get more tips to keep your details safe in George Andreopoulus' Finder X article.

Image: Getty Images

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