Bank impersonation scams are a sophisticated and growing threat, exploiting technology and human psychology to defraud individuals. At Australian Mutual Bank, we are committed to educating our members about these scams to protect their financial well-being. Here’s how these scams work and how you can safeguard yourself.

How bank impersonation scams work

Spoofed communication

Scammers use 'spoofing' technology to make their phone calls or SMS messages appear as if they are coming from a legitimate bank. This can include inserting messages into existing bank SMS threads to make them seem authentic.

Creating urgency and trust

The scammer constructs a convincing story that generates urgency and relies on the trust that customers have in their bank. They may claim there is a security breach, unusual activity, or an immediate need to verify account details.

Requests for sensitive Information

During the call, the scammer may ask for two-factor authentication (2FA) codes like SMS One Time Passwords, remote access to your computer, direct payments, or transfers to another account supposedly to 'keep your money safe'. They may instruct you not to log into your online banking until they contact you again.

Insertion of legitimate-looking messages

To further legitimise the scam, fraudsters can insert messages into your SMS conversations with the bank, making it appear as if these are genuine follow-ups from the bank.

Avoiding detection

Scammers often instruct victims not to contact the bank directly or log into their accounts, claiming it could interfere with 'security measures'. If the customer receives a genuine call about the transfer, scammers will assert that this call is also a scam and should be ignored.

Exploiting saved information

Once a customer transfers funds to a new account, the scammer saves this account as a 'favourite'. This means future transfers do not require additional 2FA like SMS One Time Passwords, allowing the scammer to continue siphoning funds until the account is empty.

Challenges in recovery

Unfortunately, once funds are transferred out, recovery is rare. Scammers quickly move money to accounts that are difficult to trace, making it challenging to retrieve lost funds.

Protecting yourself from bank impersonation scams

Verify caller identity

Always verify the identity of the caller. If you receive an unsolicited call claiming to be from Australian Mutual Bank, hang up and call us directly 13 61 91.

Never share 2FA codes like SMS One Time Passwords

We will never ask for your SMS One Time Password over the phone or via SMS. Do not share these codes with anyone, no matter how convincing their story might be.

Avoid remote access requests

Do not grant remote access to your computer to anyone claiming to be from Australian Mutual Bank or another bank. This can provide scammers with direct access to your personal information and banking details.

Be skeptical of urgent requests

Be wary of any request that demands immediate action or creates a sense of urgency. Scammers often use these tactics to pressure you into making quick decisions without proper verification.

Monitor your accounts regularly

Regularly check your bank statements and online banking transactions for any unauthorised activity. Promptly report any suspicious transactions to the bank.

Contact us directly

If you receive a suspicious call or message, contact us directly on 13 61 91. Do not use any contact information provided by the caller or within a suspicious message.

Educate yourself and others

Stay informed about the latest scam tactics and share this information with friends and family. Awareness is a key defense against falling victim to scams.

At Australian Mutual Bank, your security is our priority. If you have any doubts about a call or message you receive, please contact us immediately. We are here to help you verify the legitimacy of any communication and protect your financial assets.

Stay vigilant and informed to safeguard your finances from fraudsters.

01 July 2024