Protect against scams
Monday, 07 March 2011 11:05
The Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) is supporting efforts to help consumers protect themselves from criminals who operate in cyberspace with the aim of scamming the public.

The ABA is supporting the awareness campaign "National Consumer Fraud Week", starting 7 March until 13 March, coordinated by the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce1 (ACFT).

This year's campaign focuses on raising awareness on the personal impact of scams and how we can fight fraud that occurs on the home front.

Steven Münchenberg, Chief Executive of the ABA, said: "Banks work diligently to protect their customers from fraud perpetrated by criminals. Systems such as special detection software can flag if fraud is occurring. Banks can act immediately to limit losses and inform customers even before they may be aware there is a problem."

Smart and safe Internet use can minimise customers' exposure to becoming victims of this crime. There are steps people can take to make the criminal's job harder and to help spare people the inconvenience of becoming a victim of criminal or fraudulent activity.

Tips to protect your financial identity:

  • Don't provide your PIN or Internet banking login or password to anyone;
  • Delete spam and scam email - if the offer sounds too good to be true - it probably is;
  • Keep your anti-virus and firewall software up-to-date;
  • Always logon to Internet banking by typing in your bank's full web address, i.e. the URL;
  • Don't use public computers for Internet banking e.g. Internet cafes, libraries or hotels; and
  • Guard your identity information carefully and only provide to trusted people and entities: date of birth, current address, driver's licence number and passport details.

Mr Münchenberg said: "Beware of hoax emails purporting to be from your bank, asking for you to update your personal information such as PINs and Internet banking logon details. This information should remain confidential. Your bank will never email you to ask you for this confidential information."

"Consumers should also be aware of websites that ask for these details. These will often re-direct you to a replica of your bank's website. Such websites are set up by fraudsters to steal the customer's information."

"It's important to protect your ATM access, debit or credit card from criminals who skim card information which is then used to create fake cards and transact online. Always be careful to shield your PIN when using an ATM or EFTPOS terminal. Use a free hand to cover the key pad while you enter your PIN."

"You should treat your card like it is cash and make sure you never lose sight of it. If possible, don't give your card to a waiter or shop assistant and let them walk out of your sight."

Banks and police work together to identify, disrupt and investigate this type of criminal activity. The Joint Banking and Financial Sector Investigation Team works very closely with the Australian Federal Police. Banks and police have been successful in identifying and prosecuting those involved in identity theft.

Bank customers are protected from loss in genuine fraud cases. Account holders are not liable for losses resulting from unauthorised transactions where it is clear that the user has not contributed to the loss. There is usually an investigation by the bank to determine how the fraud has occurred.