No, you haven’t just won $1million (sorry about that). People rarely do out of the blue.
But deep down weren’t you just a teeny bit curious and wanted to double check? That’s exactly what gets people hooked into financial scams, which are increasingly common and increasingly tricky to spot as scammers become more sophisticated with their tactics.
Scamwatch reported that in 2019 Australians lost over $142 million1 in financial ploys. The convincing efforts ranged from people impersonating Superannuation funds providing “early access” to your savings, to fake online shops set up to take advantage of the eCommerce boom during lockdown.
We all know the common ones – a fake prize offer, a long lost relative, a message from the ‘government’ or well-known business, or a request for charitable donation.
But while these scammers are often very good at what they do, they’re never that good. Upon inspection, there’s almost always a way to tell if something is real or not.
What to look out for
When you receive communication from someone asking for your details or offering you something that seems too good to be true, take a step back before you click on any links. Here are some sure signs that the message you’ve received is not legit:
- The email address, URL or phone number is weird
If designed well, a message from email@example.com can look surprisingly like an innocent request from your friendly ANZ Branch Manager. But on closer look, that’s not an official ANZ email address. Before clicking on links or sharing information, always check the URL, sender’s email address or phone number for obvious discrepancies.
- The font or design isn’t up to scratch
If there are any rogue font choices, typos or broken images on a page, proceed with caution. Some scammers set up entire fake websites to hook people in, but you can often tell by the language they use or the quality of their graphic design that it’s not right. For example, a scam impersonating a major supermarket chain in Australia earlier this year referred to the coronavirus as “Corona” – not as professional as their usual messages. Most reputable companies have stringent brand guidelines and professional visual teams, so it’s unlikely to be coming from them.
- You don’t usually receive this type of message
It might look like an email from your bank or insurer or favourite retailer, but is the content familiar, or something you expected to receive? If they’re sending you an ‘invoice’ that you don’t remember paying, or saying you’ve won a competition that you don’t remember entering, don’t click the link. Instead, phone the actual company via their official number and ask if it’s really coming from them.
- They’re asking for things you don’t usually give out
Most authentic businesses won’t ask you to confirm sensitive information over phone or text, so if you’re being asked to ‘confirm your bank details’ or ‘review and update your personal details,’ that may be a good first sign that something’s up. And if you’re being asked to pay in Bitcoin, stop right there.
Listen to your gut. If it doesn’t seem right, hang up, delete, report or exit the message – and do a bit of digging before proceeding. Try searching for the caller or sender and look for online reviews or reports. One way to stay on top of the latest scams is to subscribe for email alerts from the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
Contact ANZ immediately if you’ve:
- Shared your banking details in response to a suspicious phone call, email or SMS
- Accidentally clicked on any suspicious links or downloaded any attachments
- Noticed any unusual transactions on your accounts
Don’t reply to suspicious texts, calls or emails
ANZ will never contact you to ask for confidential information like bank details or passwords.
If you are not currently using any ANZ online banking services and you receive an SMS from ANZ about activity on your account, report this to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow ANZ’s advice for protecting your personal valuables
Staying safe online is easier than you think, but if you follow the four simple steps of PACT you can make sure you’re keeping yourself and your family safe. So how can you make a PACT?
- Pause before sharing your personal information
Before you give up your details, ask yourself if you really need to hand over your personal details to this person or website.
- Activate two layers of security
From your banking apps to your social media, activate two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security to keep your personal information protected.
- Call out suspicious messages
Scammers are constantly trying to new tactics, so it helps to be aware of current scams. If you receive an email, call or SMS that seems suspicious then you can check its authenticity through official contact points or report it.
- Turn on automatic updates
Website and app developers want to keep your data safe as well, which is why they’re regularly rolling out security patches and updates. If you set your apps and operating systems to automatically update, then you’ll always have the latest security features.
If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam or want to learn more about how ANZ is protectiing customers’ from cyber scams, visit our security information site: https://www.anz.com.au/security/