Scams targeting Australians on the rise

hacker perpetrating scams targeting australians

Scams targeting Australians are rising and experts say the police and banks most likely won’t help you if you’re a victim.

The massive Optus data breach has sent shivers down the spines of the nation’s cybersecurity experts as they brace for yet another round of financial scams targeting Australians.

Australians are no strangers to financial scams.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), almost $300 million was lost to scammers in the first half of 2022 alone.

Read: Centrelink phone scam threatens victims with jail

If you are a victim of a scam, you would think your first port of call would be to report the matter to the police and to your bank to contain the damage.

But Ken Gamble, executive chair of financial private investigator IFW Global, told the New Daily that reporting the matter to police won’t achieve much.

Police won’t help

“One out of every three clients won’t report their losses to the police because of a fear of humiliation and the general understanding that the cops are not going to do anything,” he said.

“Police don’t see financial crime as a priority. They don’t see why they should be the ones dealing with it and they think victims who get caught in overseas scams deserve to lose money.”

Read: Telco fined for breaching phone scam rules

In fact, the lack of police interest in these cases is one of the main reasons IFW Global exists. Earlier this week, the group raided a call centre in Manila with the help of Philippines authorities.

The call centre was targeting Australians with a sophisticated scam that sought to convince people to hand over their superannuation. IFW was acting on behalf of six Australian clients who had lost a total of $3.3 million to the scammers.

Neither will the banks (usually)

If a scammer actually gets into your bank account and makes a transaction you didn’t authorise, the bank will generally reimburse your money.

But if scammers trick you into making the transaction yourself, as the Manila superannuation scam was attempting to do, banks are less likely to help.

“The banks will argue that the transaction was authorised by you and therefore they deny liability,” says Gerard Brody, CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC).

Read: How loneliness can put people more at risk of being scammed

CALC is lobbying the government for changes to financial laws that would require banks to reimburse proven scam victims where they are not at fault, even in cases where they had made the transaction themselves.

“Complainants assume that banks should be on the lookout for scam and fraudulent transactions and take steps to prevent transactions being authorised unless they are genuine,” Mr Brody says.

“If we want banks to be incentivised to actually protect customers through system and technology changes though, we need much clearer rules requiring our banks to proactively detect scams and prevent scam losses, and to reimburse to blameless victims.”

If you do find yourself the victim of a scam, or even if you see some suspicious activity, you can report the issue to the ACCC’s Scamwatch service.

Do you think banks should be forced to reimburse scam victims? Have you been the victim of a scam? Let us know in the comments section below.

Written by Brad Lockyer

Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.

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  1. yes you are own ,my own two experiences that I had involving the banks and fraud .

    I logged into my ANZ account to pay a bill and notice $5,000 had been taken from my credit card and deposited into my transaction account . I rang the bank straight away.
    Oh, they said this wasn’t you ?
    Of course it wasn’t me .
    How the hell did someone phone the bank with a phone number that did not belong to me and even giving them a name that was not mine and managed to do this ?
    Oh lucky you rang they said , we stopped the transfer with 5 minutes to spare .
    What was their explanation?
    Oh you must have visited a porn site or something and that Windows thing came up on your computer and they got all your info.
    Porn site my arse .
    Then they wanted to know what I was using to protect my computer.
    Um, Bitdefender, Malwarebytes, oh really that is strange.
    Yeh it was strange alright.
    , I would like to know what they were doing to protect their customers .
    Answer absolutely nothing.
    The next instance involved the NAB.
    I got an email from NAB telling me that I have a new phone number……………..really???
    Logging into my account I noticed $9,000 had been spent at HighPoint in Victoria.
    Now that was strange considering I live in the Hunter Valley.
    So, onto their fraud squad …oh this isn’t your phone number ?
    No, of course its not.
    But they , the NAB had okayed the phone number and allowed that person into my account through deception and also allowed them to switch off 2 step authentication.
    It took 3 trips to the branch and 5 long phone calls to their fraud squad who continually told me I have to go to the branch and they can’t talk to me.
    What happened next ?
    Well , I got a bill from NAB wanting the monthly payment of the $9,000 fraud.
    I then went back to the branch and they submitted a claim against it from their end.
    I got back on the computer and was locked out of my account.
    I then rang them, oh we can’t talk to you,.
    I had had enough so I exploded on the phone laid out for the umpteenth time what had happened and received an apology …wow !!!!!!
    I then received this months statement with still, you guessed it , the fraud amount still on the account and NAB requesting I make the payment.

    Now all this has led me to believe that the banks ,like OPTUS, are faking it on how much protection they offer you.
    To be honest the moment all this went online and I could access accounts with a swipe of my hand, and make payments with a swipe of a card I knew this was going to happen , and that was 10 years ago .
    I did not trust the system then and I don’t trust it now.

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