Caller ID Spoofing
When interviewing someone who has been involved in a scam (where spoofing has been used to create trust) we frequently hear, “But the caller said they were from Westpac, the phone number they called me from was the same number on the back of my card and I received an SMS from Westpac.”
This emerging trend called Spoofing or Caller ID Spoofing is widely used by scammers.
What is Spoofing?
Caller ID spoofing is the unauthorised use of a phone number to mislead you about the actual originator of a call or SMS.
Simply put, it is when the Caller ID shows a phone number or name different to the initiating phone number.
Scammers use this technique in the hope that you will answer their call or action an SMS, as Australians become more wary about answering calls from unusual or unknown numbers.
How does the scam work?
These scams often start by receiving an SMS using the sender name of ‘Westpac’, asking you to validate a new payee or other urgent requests. You may receive a warning about your account being suspended or you may even be advised that a Fraud or Security Officer will call you about suspect activity on your account.
When you receive an SMS from a spoofed sender name, any message that have been sent using this method will appear in the same conversation. For examples of this, check out westpac.com.au/scams.
If the SMS contains a link, you may be directed to a phishing website that is designed to capture your personal information or banking details. Remember you should only sign in to your banking by typing westpac.com.au to your browser, or using the Westpac App.
When a spoofed call is received, the number on screen may display as one of our advertised numbers and if you call this number back, you will call Westpac.
What should you look out for?
Scammers may use a sender name of ’Westpac’ or spoof our common phone numbers to try and convince you that what you’re receiving is trusted call or message.
Your phone will automatically group spoofed SMS messages alongside any existing legitimate messages you may have received from Westpac.
Unfortunately, there is little you can do to prevent a scammer calling or messaging you from a spoofed number.
Turning on Spam/Scam call warnings in your phones settings will assist in alerts a scam/spam caller may be trying to contact you however, it’s important to note that this is unlikely to happen for a spoofed phone number.
How can you protect yourself?
Stay alert to scam calls and SMS messages, just because the SMS or caller says they are from Westpac, it doesn’t always mean this is true. Hang up on callers and contact us on a number published on our website and be extra suspicious if a caller tells you that you can’t use this process.
If you receive any messages regarding your account or transaction activity, do not click on any links provided via SMS - always sign in securely to check your account by typing 'westpac.com.au’ in to your browser or by using the Westpac App.
Legitimate calls from Westpac will never ask you to:
- Make a transaction (e.g. to a “safe account” or transfer to another financial institution).
- Share Online Banking Security Codes.
- Provide us with remote access your computer/device.
For more information
- IDCare - visit IDCare's Caller ID Spoofing page for more information.
- The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) - a government agency that also has information on this type of scam and what is being worked on at an industry level to help protect Australians.