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Online Scams

At Westpac, we’re vigilant about safeguarding your financial and personal information. Help protects you, your family and your business against scams. Check out the types of scams being used, plus some useful tips on how to stay safe.

Report

Please report any suspicious activity immediately by calling 132 032 or (+612) 9293 9270 if overseas (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

This rapidly growing scam is also known as 'mule recruiting', and occurs when fraudsters use advertisements to entice individuals to become money transfer agents.

You could receive a request via email, a letter, a pop-up window, or a telephone call to provide the requestor with your bank account number and to carry out a transaction in exchange for a sum of money. Sometimes these transactions are involve sending money overseas.  If you participate, it is possible that you are now involved in money laundering and could be prosecuted.

 

You should ask yourself the following questions about the prospective job offer:

  • Why wasn’t there an interview conducted for the position on offer?
  • Why weren't you asked for a resume and other documents normally required for a job interview?
  • Why would someone who you have never met entrust you with a sum of money?
  • Why do you need to transfer money via Australia when the 'employer' is sometimes located in a foreign country?

 

These circumstances are highly unusual and should raise suspicion. Be very wary of this type of scam - if the job advertisement looks too good to be true, then it usually is. Before accepting a position that sounds like this, check out ACCC’s Scamwatch website.

Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. Scammers play on your emotions to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.

 

Watch out for these online romance and dating scam signs:

  • Scammers open conversation with some form of mutual interest or suggestion you may have similar hobbies.
  • Be cautious of requests to chat privately outside of dating websites or apps e.g. social media/email.
  • Information shared in private with you does not align with their public profile.
  • After gaining your trust, even after months, they will tell you an elaborate story asking you to provide money, gifts, or personal details such as bank account or credit card details.
  • They may be reluctant to meet in person, or will provide reasons why they are unavailable.
  • Their messages will often be poorly written and in most cases, escalate quickly into confessing their love.

 

Think you might be involved in a romance scam?

  • Report it to the website, app or social media site where you were first approached, providing as much detail as possible about the scammer.
  • If you’ve provided banking details, contact your bank or financial institute immediately.
  • Report the scam to ACORN.
  • Do an image search of your prospective partner through image search services e.g. Google.
  • Contact us immediately on 132 032.

Visit the Federal Government's Scamwatch site for more details on romance and dating scams.  

Read a real-life scenario reported to Scamwatch

When you use the web to communicate personal information, or to pay for goods and services, there are situations when this information could fall into the wrong hands.

Being able to differentiate between a legitimate or fraudulent site is fundamental to using the internet safely, but it’s not always that easy.  

A common scam is spoofing; the creation of shadow domains, or replicas of real websites. Scammers often lure recipients of scam SMS or emails into clicking on a link that takes them to what appears to be a genuine website. The fake website is designed to appear extremely similar to the legitimate businesses’ site, to trick you into providing your personal information.

 

How to stay safe when surfing the web:

  • Type URLs directly into the address bar of your browser and avoid clicking on links provided by web searches.
  • Use security software on your devices and keep it updated.
  • Backup your data regularly and store it separately.

 

What to do if you notice suspicious activity?

  • Immediately change all your passwords.
  • If you’ve provided banking details, contact your bank or financial institute immediately.
  • Run a virus scan on all your devices.
  • If you think your identity has been stolen, contact your local police and/or IDCare immediately.

An Increasing numbers of Australians are encountering, and losing money to scams on social media. Social media users need to be particularly alert to romance scams and fake trader scams. These scammers abuse your trust by pretending to be real people looking for love or legitimate retailers, creating emotional distress for their victims and financial losses that can not always be recovered.


Staying safe when using online marketplaces:

  • Check reviews before buying online. Try to find how reputable a seller is by searching for reviews.
  • Be cautious making deposits or payments to online sellers without seeing an item first, especially where household pets or livestock are concerned.
  • When using retail websites, know who you are dealing with. If it’s an Australian company, you’re in a much better position to sort things out if something goes wrong.
  • When making online payments, only pay for items using a secure payment service. Don’t use unsecured payment methods such as cash.


Staying safe on social media:

  • Be careful who you connect with and don’t accept invitations from people you don’t know.
  • Review your privacy and security settings on all social media platforms. Take the time to understand exactly what your account shows about you to the public.

 

Think you’ve been scammed?

  • Report profiles you suspect to be scams to the social media platform – they might be attempting to scam others too.
  • Immediately change all your passwords.
  • Run a virus scan on all your devices.
  • If you’ve provided banking details, contact your bank or financial institute immediately.
  • If you think your identity has been stolen, contact your local police and/or IDCare immediately.
  • Report the scam to ACORN.
  • For more information see your social media platforms reporting information