ABA launches scam awareness campaign

ABA Scam prevention

Peak banking industry body, the Australian Banking Association (ABA), has launched a new consumer-focused campaign to raise awareness of scams and provide customers with practical tips to protect themselves from scammers.

ABA chief executive Anna Bligh said the new national campaign provides “important messages to fight scams”.

She added that the campaign “[reinforces] that we all need to ‘stop and listen for alarm bells – if it doesn’t feel quite right, it might be a scam”.

“As scams grow ever more complex and sophisticated, vigilance is required from all of us at all times.”

The campaign includes four separate video advertisements covering bank impersonation, E-Toll, investment, and invoice scams. As well, the ABA has provided practical tips to help consumers identify and avoid scams (listed below).

“The campaign includes reminders such as ‘Banks will never call you and ask you to transfer money to another account’ and to ‘Always check you’re dealing with a legitimate organisation’,” Bligh said.

Bligh stressed that the campaign also emphasises the increased use of PayID – which ties a user’s mobile number, email address, ABN or Organisation Identifier to their bank account (and thus enables instant verification of payments receivers) – as a first line of defence against scams.

“PayID helps customers to know who they are paying before they pay,” Bligh said, noting there are now 14.7 million Australians registered for the service.

The instances of and losses from scams targeting Australian consumers continue to mount. In the 12 months to February 2023, Australians reported 256,842 scams worth $596 million – an average of 21,404 scams each month, worth $49.6 million each month, according to the latest ACCC Scamwatch statistics.

More than one in 10 scams reported to Scamwatch resulted in a financial loss.

As part of its campaign, the ABA provided several tips to consumers to spot and avoid financial scams, including that:

Banks will never –

  • call and ask people to transfer funds to another account over the phone.
  • contact you to ask for any account or personal details in an unsolicited text or email.
  • ask for online banking passcodes or passwords over email, text or phone.
  • ask for remote access to your devices.
  • threaten you to take immediate action on an issue.

Customers should never –

  • provide banking information, passwords or two-factor identification codes over the phone or via text to anyone even if you know them – contact the bank through official channels only.
  • log in to your online banking via links sent through email or text.
  • click on suspicious emails, links or texts.
  • transfer money unless you’re certain it’s going to the right person.
  • provide personal information to anyone you don’t know personally unless you know it’s for a legitimate purpose.

Customers should always –

  • pause to question the authenticity of a text message, an email, a call or a person who claims to be from a trusted organisation. If in doubt, call back on the publicly listed phone number before taking any action.
  • register a PayID securely through your bank and not via a third party and use PayID where you can.
  • set up two-factor authentication to protect your accounts and online banking.
  • check the legitimacy of any invoices or bills and use PayID wherever possible.
  • immediately report any suspicious activity directly to your bank.