Protect yourself from scams

Learn about the most common scams, how to spot them and what to do if you’ve been targeted.

Types of scams

Scammers aim to trick you into providing your details or money by using fake emails, calls, SMS, MMS or websites.

Email and SMS scams

These are also known as ‘phishing’ and ‘SMShing’ scams. These look like a genuine email or SMS and contain links or attachments leading to malicious software or fake websites - often asking for personal information. Always navigate to online banking and other websites yourself (don’t use links in emails or SMS) so you know they’re genuine.

Important tips

  • Contact organisations directly using details from their website - don’t use those supplied in an email or SMS
  • We’ll never ask you to disclose, update or confirm personal or banking information in an email or SMS
  • We’ll never send you a direct link to online banking
  • Before clicking a link, hover your mouse over it to see where the URL will take you
  • Never open an attachment you weren’t expecting, especially if it’s attached to a suspicious message.
     

Warning signs

  • Poor spelling or grammar and similar (but not quite right) email addresses, names, logos and URLs 
  • Messages asking you to urgently verify your account or log in to pay a bill or fine
  • Requests from overseas asking you to forward money or letting you know that you’ve won a prize.

Romance scams

Romance scammers hide behind fake online profiles which are designed to grab your attention. They gain your trust over time. Once they have this, they’ll try to manipulate you into believing they have health issues, family problems, travel expenses or other personal issues. They’ll usually ask for financial assistance or gifts and can be very convincing. It can be easy to believe they’re genuine because they’ve taken a long time to build a relationship with you.
 

Warning signs

  • Fast and intense declarations of love
  • A preference to communicate through email or instant messaging rather than an official dating platform
  • A change from affection to desperation or threats if you don’t meet their requests
  • They’ll usually make a small request first to test if you’ll comply with a bigger request later
  • Preying on a vulnerability such as isolation, age or language barrier.

Job scams

Job scams aim to get your attention with a lucrative job opportunity that requires little effort and guarantees employment - for a fee. Once you pay the fee, you might not get any job offers or won’t be paid for the work you complete. Other job scams could put you at risk of breaking the law. A scammer might ask you to accept money into your bank account before moving it to another account (and paying you for allowing this). Criminals use this method to illegally move and launder money, by making you a ‘money mule’.
 

Warning signs

  • You need to pay an upfront fee to get access to the job opportunity
  • The opportunity might be to ‘work from home’ and get paid a ‘guaranteed’ income
  • You don’t need to be interviewed to qualify for the job
  • You’ve been contacted by someone you don’t know about the opportunity
  • You’re asked to accept money into your account and then forward it elsewhere.

Investment scams

Investment scam examples include cold callers pretending to be investment managers, or people on social media sharing a chance to make quick cash or extremely high returns. Each ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity needs you to act fast to get a good return.

Important tips

  • If the email, SMS or call sounds too good to be true - it probably is
  • Beware of offers that sound legitimate but are time-sensitive, low-risk and have a seemingly high return
  • Typical investment scams include real estate and property projects, superannuation, share and stock promotions, foreign currency and binary trading
  • Check that the company or person contacting you has an Australian Financial Services licence or look them up on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Remote access scams

These scammers aim to access your computer or device from a remote location to get your personal information. They'll give a fake but credible story as to why they need it. Watch out if you’re contacted by someone claiming to be from a bank, phone company, government agency or computer software company needing to reset your password, verify your account, update security settings or improve your internet connection.
 

Important tips

  • Never provide remote access, personal details or login details to anyone – especially if they’ve cold-called you
  • If you think the caller is genuine, call them back on a number listed on their website – don’t call them on a number they give you
  • Don’t use the details or visit the link from the message you’ve received as it’s likely fake
  • Make sure your computer has up to date anti-virus software installed and run regularly.

Business scams

It’s important to defend your business from scams. Scammers can try to trick you or your staff to get your business’ information or money. Educating your staff about common scams so they can recognise and report them can save your business from potentially costly mistakes.
 

Important tips

  • If a supplier wants to change their bank details, confirm them with a phone call before making payments to the new account. Their emails could have been hacked
  • Before approving payments in Online Business Banking, carefully review details to make sure the payment is going to the intended recipient – especially if you see a message that a payment has been changed since it was created
  • Email phishing is common for businesses. It’s important to educate your staff about these
  • Check all staff email requests to change bank details with the staff member by phone or in person – the details could be a scammer’s
  • Warn staff not to share their Online Business Banking (OBB) login details
  • Each employee needing OBB access should have their own login details.

Warning signs

  • Requests asking you to urgently verify your account or pay a bill or fine
  • Emails appearing as though they’re from suppliers asking for payment to a new account.

Business email compromise scams

Explore the different types of scams and how to improve your online security.

Video: Business email compromise scams

Video transcript (PDF)

Latest online security threats

See examples of banking threats, fraud and scams that have been reported to us.

Tips to help protect your money

Think you’ve already fallen for a scam?

  • Change your banking, email and other important online passwords immediately
  • Run a full system scan on your device
  • Check your bank account for transactions you might not have made.

You’ll find more information on Stay Smart Online by the Australian Government and in the little black book of scams by The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Scamwatch.

Get in touch

See something suspicious?

Call us immediately if you’re worried about possible fraud.

Is someone pretending to be us?

If you’re not sure about an email or SMS, don’t click any links or attachments.