Stay safe online and protect your financial identity
Tuesday, 12 June 2012 14:24

The Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) is warning bank customers of a bogus telephone survey in which criminals try to steal confidential bank information so they can defraud accounts.

Members of the public have recently contacted the ABA to inform us they have received a telephone call from these fraudsters, but thankfully have discontinued the conversation before providing any confidential PINs or Internet banking passwords.

The scammers claim they are completing a customer satisfaction survey on behalf of the "Banking Association of Australia" or other variations of the ABA's name. This survey is bogus.

Steven Münchenberg, Chief Executive of the ABA, said: "We do not carry out customer satisfaction surveys. Some of the bank customers explained that the bogus caller asked for personal identification details. This information once extracted could be used by the criminals to commit crimes."

The bogus survey caller asks a series of questions regarding the person's banking provider, such as:

  •  With whom do you bank?
  •  How long have you banked with them?
  •  Are you satisfied with the service?

Mr Münchenberg advised this is not the first time this telephone scam has been staged by criminals. The ABA advises that if you receive a call such as this, just hang up. If you have provided any information over the telephone, then you should immediately contact your bank, which will take action to protect and monitor your account."

He noted that banks are always working to improve security enhancements to protect customers. But there are also some 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.

Smart and safe Internet use can minimise customers' exposure to becoming victims of crime and this is why the ABA is supporting the Federal Government's National Cyber Security Awareness Week which starts today.

It's designed to raise awareness of cyber security risk and the simple steps people can take to protect their personal and financial information online.

Mr Münchenberg said: "We trust banks to keep our savings safe, provide finance when we need it and not to leave us out of pocket if we are defrauded by criminals through no fault of our own. Often customers can avoid being defrauded by criminals by knowing how to recognise a scam."

"Beware of hoax e-mails or telephone calls purporting to be from your bank, asking you for personal information such as PINs and Internet banking logon details. This information should remain confidential."

"Sometimes the fraudsters will appeal for your help such as a donation of goods to a charity which requires a payment for shipping or to assist another person in need by sending money. When they have a person interested, the criminals will eventually ask for personal information. Don't fall for it – don't provide this confidential information."

Mr Münchenberg said bank security enhancements include advances in monitoring customer transaction patterns to provide intelligence on criminals and their activities, advances in the encryption of customer data, use of on-screen keypads - designed to prevent the incidence of keystroke logging fraud, use of security tokens and SMS

alerts to mobile phones.

"Many customers have had the experience of a bank contacting them to query a transaction. This is due to continual efforts by banks to more quickly and effectively identify suspicious transactions. Banks take swift action to protect customers if they think the fraudsters are at work," he said.

Banks also work closely with State and Federal Police to assist in the investigations leading to the prosecutions of criminals who misuse anyone's personal financial information to commit crimes.

Tips to protect your financial identity

  1.  Don't provide your PIN or Internet banking logon or password to anyone;
  2.  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;
  3.  Delete spam and scam e-mail – if the offer sounds too good to be true – it probably is;
  4.  Keep your anti-virus and firewall software up-to-date;
  5.  Always logon to Internet banking by typing in your bank's full web address, i.e. the URL;
  6.  Don't use public computers for Internet banking e.g. Internet cafes, libraries or hotels;
  7.  Do not install software or run programs of unknown origin;
  8.  Guard the following identity information carefully and only provide to trusted people and entities: date of birth, current address, driver's licence number and passport details.