What is Phishing?
Phishing is a way scammers trick you into revealing your personal information such as passwords, account, identification details or credit card numbers.
Scammers often impersonate well known businesses that you are likely to deal with such as financial institutions, utility companies, telecommunications companies and government agencies. They may also take the form of fake vouchers or competitions, surveys, postal notifications, bills, account alerts etc.
What they're after
Scammers can use your personal information to steal your identity for personal and financial gain.
What could a scammer do with your personal information?
- Access and drain your bank accounts
- Open new bank accounts in your name and apply for loans or lines of credit
- Take out phone plans and other contracts in your name
- Purchase expensive goods in your name
- Steal your superannuation
- Gain access to your government online services
- Access your email to find more sensitive information
- Access your social media accounts and impersonate you to scam your family and friends
Signs this may be a phishing scam
You are asked for your personal information.
Do not give it to them. Ask for a reference number, then contact the business yourself separately on a trusted number to verify the call was genuine.
You receive an email or SMS asking you to click on a link.
Do not click on the link. To sign in to an account, type the address into the browser yourself. E.g. type in https://www.westpac.com.au/
A caller is threatening, applies time pressure, asks you to download software, or complete something in secret.
Hang up. Do not act on their requests or download any software that they may ask you to.
It just does not sound or feel right.
Trust your gut instinct and separately verify the person, business or information given to you.
Financial institutions, government agencies and most organisations will never contact you requesting access to your device, share your passwords, security codes, PIN’s or other personal information via a pop up or a phone call. Never share these with anyone, regardless of the claims being made. Always call organisations back on trusted numbers found on their website or phone directory to validate any of these types of requests.
Who should I contact and examples of scams
- Please report scams or suspicious activity immediately to Westpac at 132 032 or 61 2 9155 7700 (if calling from overseas).
- Forward suspicious emails to email@example.com or sms/text messages to 0497 132 032 then delete the email or message.
- Report all suspicious activity to the Australian Cyber Security Centre at cyber.gov.au/report.
- Contact IDCARE toll-free on 1800 595 160 or visit their website idcare.org. They provide free, confidential support and guidance to people who have been targeted by fraud, scams, identity theft or compromise.
- Keep up to date on scams by subscribing to the government's scam email alerts from scamwatch.gov.au/subscribe.
- Check out our latest scams, for copies of recently reported scams at westpac.com.au/scams.
Things you should know
* Examples are based on one or more real scam reports received by Westpac. For privacy purposes real names have not been used.