Bankwest is urging West Australians to look out for loved ones and be on-guard against scammers, as cyber criminals look to take advantage of the coronavirus uncertainty.
The warning comes amid Australian Cyber Security Centre reports of a significant increase in COVID-19 related scams, resulting in the theft of confidential personal and financial information.
Over the past 12 months about $40 million of customer funds has been saved from scammers with the three most common threats being remote access, investment and romance scams.
Bankwest’s ‘Crime Stop’ initiative, which marks its first anniversary this month, is central to the organisation’s focus on keeping customers’ funds out of the hands of scammers and fraudsters.
Crime Stop recognises Bankwest colleagues who detect and prevent cybercrimes, with its scams and fraud team warning the financial uncertainty of COVID-19 could see investment scams rise.
The average value of each scam over the past 12 months was $14,000, but the financial threat to customers varied greatly, ranging from as little as $1.50 to as much as $4 million.
Bankwest Executive General Manager Sinead Taylor said: “Our customers’ wellbeing is our number one priority and Crime Stop is helping protect customers in these times of uncertainty.
“The initiative was established out of a need to fight a scourge already targeting the vulnerable and, unfortunately, this need generally only increases in times of crises.
“Crime Stop has been invaluable in spreading awareness of the trends of scammers and the methods to look out for.
“For example, one of our colleagues identified a customer’s computer had been infected with malicious software, thereby potentially preventing the theft of a very large amount of money.
“Then there are situations where colleagues have made elderly or vulnerable customers aware of regular direct-debit transactions that had been setup on their account by their carers.”
Bankwest’s Safe and Savvy Guide (PDF) helps educate and inform customers of the dangers of hoaxes, scams and fraud and is available for download on the Bankwest website.
Bankwest’s vision is to deliver brilliant customer experiences that matter and our purpose is to improve the financial wellbeing of our customers and communities. Bankwest provides personal and business banking solutions for more than 1.1 million customers across Australia. Our customers enjoy access to an extensive network of branches and business centres, direct and third-party distribution channels, agencies and electronic banking facilities, as well as 24-hour banking on the telephone, internet and the Bankwest App. Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL/Australian credit license 234945.