The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning consumers to be wary of phone calls and text messages impersonating banks, following reports of Australians falling victim to these sophisticated scams and losing their life savings. In 2022, Scamwatch received 14,603 reports of bank impersonation scams resulting in over $20 million in losses.
“We are incredibly concerned about bank impersonation scams because they can be so convincing, they are very hard to detect,” ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said.
“What’s equally worrying about this particular scam, is that it is emptying every last cent out of victims’ savings accounts, with losses averaging $22,000 and more than 90 reports of losses between $40,000 and $800,000. This causes both financial and emotional devastation.”
It has been reported that scammers are using spoofing software (also known as alpha tags) to make calls appear from the banks legitimate phone number and texts appear in the same conversation thread as genuine bank messages. These scams are a sophisticated form of phishing and are designed to trick victims into contacting the scammers.
“It is critical to remember that no matter how legitimate the call or message seems, a bank won’t ask you to urgently transfer funds,” Ms Lowe said.
If you receive a message like this or an unsolicited call from anyone claiming to be from G&C Mutual Bank, do not click on any suspicious links and/or provide personal information. Please contact us to report any suspicious activity.
Signs of a bank impersonation scam
- There is a sense of urgency or threat to the message – such as: “your bank account has been accessed”, “your bank account has been locked” “a payment has been made from your account. If this was not you, please call (phone number)”.
- The message looks different to other messages in the SMS thread, such as different wording or phrases used.
- The message may contain a suspicious looking link. Never click on links.
- The SMS has a telephone number to call – always find your bank’s phone number independently.
- The caller will tell you to transfer money to a different account to ‘keep it safe’ or for ‘further investigation’. This is not standard procedures for a bank. It is a scam.
Tips for avoiding scams
Stop – take you time before giving money or personal information.
Think – ask yourself if the message or call could be fake.
Protect – act quickly if something feels wrong. Contact your bank and report scams to Scamwatch.
If you believe someone has gained access to your personal information, even if the scam appears unrelated to your finances, you should contact your bank immediately. A timely response can be critical in giving you the best chance to stem any loss.
- If you have concerns about your G&C Mutual Bank account contact us on 1300 364 400.
- You can find out how scams work, how to protect yourself, what to do if you’ve been scammed or report a scam to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) via the Scamwatch website.
As always, G&C Mutual Bank remains committed to your security and privacy online. To understand how we help to keep you safe, please refer to our Security page and for information on common scams and how to protect yourself, please visit the News section of our website.