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What is a remote access scam?

A remote access scam is when someone contacts you to request you download software or an app that shares remote access to your device.

How they contact you

How they contact you* % How they contact you* %

Phone

89.8%

Social Networking

 0.7%

Email

12.2%

In person

 0.5%

Text message

7.2%

Mail

 0.3%

Internet

5.2%

Not applicable

 0.1%

Mobile applications

1.0%

Fax

 0.0%

What they're after

Remote access scammers are after access to your computer or mobile which will enable them to see the information on your device. Once access is shared, scammers often coerce you to sign into online banking and perform transactions. They may also use this access to steal your personal data or gain access to your friends and family’s information.

Signs this may be a remote access scam

Someone contacts you needing assistance to catch hackers, fix NBN or computer issues, help with secretive tasks or to provide a refund.
Hang up. Legitimate organisations will not require your assistance with any of these scenarios. 

An unexpected caller is asking to access your device by downloading software (e.g. Team Viewer, Any Desk or Quick Support). They may ask you not to tell anyone.
Do not follow their directions and hang up. 

A caller is asking you to sign into online banking or share security codes.
Hang up. Never sign into Online Banking if you are sharing access to your device. Never share your security codes with anyone. 

A caller asks you to make transactions, or 'refund' a deposit you see in your account and coaches you what to say to the bank.
Do not refund. Always be honest with the bank so they can help protect your money.

Important:

Financial institutions, government agencies and most organisations will never contact you requesting access to your device, share your passwords, security codes 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 remote access scams?

Dani received a call from someone claiming to be from her phone company and that they had detected a hacker accessing her computer and were calling to help her clean her device.
 

She was told what to type into her computer so they could access her computer and help her.

The caller advised it is common for hackers to access online banking, so she signed in to check her account. Once signed in, her screen went blank and the caller advised they would fix this.
 

While waiting for the caller to fix her computer, they advised the process may generate an SMS from her bank and that if she received this, it was OK to share this with them as they were helping her and the code was to verify the fix.
 

Shortly after Dani’s screen reappeared and the caller advised their work was completed.

Unfortunately, this was a remote access scam. A scammer had taken control of her computer and while signed into her banking, they transferred $10,000 from her home loan to her transaction account. The SMS code she shared enabled the $10,000 to then be transferred to the scammers bank account.


Latest Scams

To stay in the loop, and stay protected, check out our list of the latest phishing scams impersonating Westpac.
 

Report a scam

If you receive any suspicious calls, emails or SMS messages, or notice unusual activity on your account, it’s important that you let us know.
 

Security Wellbeing Check

To help keep you up to date with the latest security features, we’ve introduced the Security Wellbeing Check. Found in the Westpac App, it checks your Westpac settings and suggests how you can improve the security of your banking facilities.

Things you should know

1. Delivery method percentages are based on the number of reports from 1 January 2020 to 31 October 2020. The data is sourced from the Australian  Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) scam watch website and is based on reports provided to the ACCC by web form and over the phone.

*Examples are based on one or more real scam reports received by Westpac. For privacy purposes real names have not been used.