skip to log on skip to main content
VoiceOver users please use the tab key when navigating expanded menus
Article related to:


What is a bank impersonation scam, and how can you protect yourself?

Security specialist

2024-04-03 00:00

Estimated reading time
5 min

Jump to

Imagine getting an urgent SMS from your bank that says your accounts have been compromised. To fix the issue, you need to follow a link and update your details immediately. The problem is urgent, and the message popped up in the same thread as other messages you’ve received from us before.

This is how sophisticated bank impersonation scams can be.

“It’s reported that more than $11 million was lost to bank impersonation scams in 2023,” says Erica Hardinge, ANZ’s Product Area Lead in Staff & Customer Security Education & Resilience Enablement. “The real figure is likely higher.”

We’re here to break down the ways bank impersonation scams operate, give you a list of red flags to keep an eye out for, and help you build up your scam resistance with some practical tips for staying safe from scammers.

What is a bank impersonation scam?

A bank impersonation scam is when a scammer makes direct contact with you while impersonating a trusted bank – like us.

They do this to gain access to your personal information and/or money, and both their contact methods and means can vary. Scammers can even make an SMS appear under the same number as your bank or a trusted organisation, which makes them very difficult to spot.

Messages will often include a link to a website controlled by the scammer. On this website, you may be prompted to enter important banking information. This might be your customer registration number, password and credit card details.

Anyone can be targeted, and any bank can be impersonated. But as scary as that may sound, there are some simple ways to spot these scams before they steal your hard-earned money.


How can you spot a bank impersonation scam?

These scams are so successful because they exploit your faith in a trustworthy institution, like ANZ. Given how sophisticated these scams can be, it’s important that you can spot the signs before it’s too late.

  • Unexpected contact: “If you don’t expect to receive a call, text or email from us, then it’s a sign it might be a scammer,” explains Erica. “Stop and check that the request or contact is legitimate.”

  • Creates a sense of urgency: Erica says, “ANZ will not contact you and create a sense of panic or fear about the security of your finances.” You may be informed of an unauthorised transaction or told your accounts are compromised.

  • Links and attachments in unexpected messages: Being prompted to follow a link to an external website and fill in your online banking details or being asked to download a file.

  • Being asked to transfer money: “We will never ask you to transfer money into a safe account or for login information for online banking,” says Erica. “This includes asking for one-time-passcodes with ‘payment’ in the text message.”

  • Being asked for sensitive information: Requests for you to share sensitive information, like your password, PIN and one-time passcode. 

What might a bank impersonation scam look like?

You might receive an SMS or email from ‘ANZ’. It may instruct you to click a link to login to your online banking in order to verify your personal details or confirm unusual transactions.

The website might look like the ANZ homepage, and there might be prompts to enter your username and password. But this information will go straight to the scammer, and they’ll have what they need to make transactions through your accounts. 

You might even be encouraged to visit a fake ANZ website to download remote access software (e.g. TeamViewer & AnyDesk) in order to start a 'Live Chat' with the criminal. If you follow these instructions, the criminal will gain full access to your device and may ask you to log in to internet banking.

Scammers might also try to scare you by calling you, claiming to be from the 'ANZ Fraud Team'. They may convince you to transfer your money into a "safe account" to protect your money. But this account is far from 'safe' – in fact it's actually an account controlled by the scammer!


How can you protect yourself from bank impersonation scammers?

  • If someone calls claiming to be from your bank and they sound suspicious, hang up. Call the customer support number on the back of your banking card, or the number listed on your bank’s official website. You can check if it was a legitimate call, or you can report the fraudulent call.

  • Be suspicious of any SMS or email prompting you to follow a link and share personal data.

  • Be wary of threats or time pressure  from anyone claiming to be from the bank.

  • Always log into your internet banking through the ANZ app or our official website. Type in your internet browser directly. Do not follow links sent to you claiming to take you to our website. 

  • If you receive a call from the bank asking you to transfer funds to another account, don’t do it!

  • Stay aware of current scams and check unusual messages through official contact points or report it.

  • Stay safe and make a PACT:
    • Pause before sharing personal information
    • Activate two layers of security
    • Call out suspicious messages
    • Turn on automatic software updates


What to do if you think you’ve been scammed

Contact ANZ immediately if you’re an ANZ customer and you have:

  • shared financial details or transferred money in response to a scam.

  • clicked on a suspicious link or downloaded an unknown attachment and subsequently logged into your ANZ online banking.

  • any concerns about the security of your online banking or personal details.

  • noticed unusual activity on any of your accounts. 

If you shared credit card details, block or cancel those cards immediately. If your cards are with ANZ, you can do this through the app


Who can you contact if you’ve been scammed?

  • Report the scam to the Police through the Australian Signals Directorate’s ReportCyber portal. This resource is there for reports of scams where money or personal information has been lost.

  • You can contact the Australian cyber security hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1300 CYBER1 (or 1300 292 371).

  • Help others by reporting to Scamwatch to help them prevent future losses, monitor trends and educate the population about emerging threats. 

  • You can also contact IDCare, a not-for-profit organisation providing support to those experiencing identity and cyber security concerns.
What is a bank impersonation scam, and how can you protect yourself?
Security specialist

How we can help you stay safe 

From fraud detection systems to 24/7 support, if you're an ANZ customer, you can access our tools, resources and support to help you protect your bank accounts.

Show me how



This information seeks to raise awareness and provides general information only. It may be necessary or appropriate  to ensure that measures are taken in addition to, or in substitution for, the measures presented having regard to your particular personal or business circumstances.