Scams over the phone
At Westpac, we’re vigilant about safeguarding your financial and personal information. Help protects you, your family and your business. Check out the types of scams being used plus some useful tips on how to stay safe.
Fraudsters don't only strike online. There's been an increase in phone scams where the caller claims to be from a reputable organisation offering to assist with a computer or WiFi issue. They then attempt to take control of, or access your computer. Do not allow this under any circumstances; just hang up.
Other recent phone scams involve hoax callers claiming to be bank employees or law enforcement, who then request account information or personal details.
Also, be particularly vigilant if you’re asked to disclose any Online Banking sign-in details or Westpac Protect™ SMS Codes sent to your mobile. Again, just don’t do it.
To better protect yourself from phone scams:
- Keep all access codes (e.g. ATM password, card PIN, Online Banking password, Westpac Protect™ SMS Code we send to your mobile) secret and secure. We’ll never ask for this information over the phone or on email.
- If you're unsure, ask for a reference number and call back on a trusted number (i.e. phone book listed number) to confirm if the call was genuine. Never give a stranger remote access to your computer.
- Do not give out your personal, account or online details unless the phone number comes from a trusted source.
- Keep your computer protected by running and updating security software purchased from trusted sources.
- Never install or download software you are unfamiliar with, or allow unsolicited callers to have remote access to your computer.
If you think you've fallen for any scam, contact us immediately on 132 032
Protect your SMS code like you would a password or PIN
Disclosing your Westpac Protect SMS code - or any Westpac Online Banking access codes - to others, contravenes our Terms and Conditions. By sharing your security codes or password you may be liable for losses as a result of fraud on your account where you have provided these.
Remote Access Phone Scam Example
Jan unexpectedly receives a call from her utility provider, asking for her help tracking a fraudster. She completed the steps the caller requested; installing software on her computer and accepting all on screen prompts.
She is told money will be deposited into her account to lure the fraudster. She is asked sign into her online banking to confirm her account balance, as the caller is sending her a deposit.
Jan’s browser temporarily freezes but once active, is asked to reconfirm her balance. She can see the balance has increased and the caller requests the deposit be returned.
As Jan walks into her local branch, Jan receives a call from Westpac about unusual activity on her credit card. The fraud officer starts discussing her recent transactions; and Jan starts to feel uneasy about this morning’s call. The amounts being questioned are the same amount Jan is about to withdraw in cash, but the caller had told her not to tell anyone about this morning, particularly her bank.
The Westpac fraud officer explained the call was from a fraudster who had gained access to Jan’s computer through remote access software. Available credit on her credit card had been transferred to her account giving her the impression the caller had actually deposited the funds.
Local tellers helped Jan in reversing the funds to her credit card; however she could have been out of pocket as the Westpac Security Guarantee may not have applied if Jan had withdrawn the cash from her account.
So how did the caller access Jan’s banking?
The software that Jan had installed on her computer was ‘remote access software’ which allowed the fraudster to take full control of her computer, including her browser when she signed into Online Banking.
This type of scam has many variations. Typically, a scammer calls you and pretends to be a staff member from a large telecommunications or computer company, e.g. Telstra, the NBN or Microsoft. Alternatively, they may claim to be from a technical support service. They may often become aggressive if you do not comply with their requests.