Impersonation scams are on the rise in Australia. In 2022, Scamwatch reported that $169 million was lost to impersonation scams – a figure expected to rise in 2023.
We’ve put together a guide to help you get clued up on this particular type of scam, and provide you with the knowledge to help prevent this happening to you.
These scams often begin with a phone call, text message or email that appears to be from a trusted organisation. You’re convinced to make a payment or give personal and/or financial details to someone claiming to be from an organisation you trust.
Scammers will give you a fake but believable story about an issue with your bank account, a regular payment, a government benefit, or a fine that they tell you needs paying.
The scammers will use ways to make their calls or text messages seem legitimate by having them appear in the same thread as genuine messages from the company they say they’re contacting you from (known as spoofing). In some cases criminals will even send couriers to collect your cards, PINs or valuable items in person.
The scammer’s goal is to convince you to make a payment or give personal and/or financial details to someone you’ve been tricked into believing is from an organisation you trust.
These scams are based on threats and intimidation tactics, so you should report any concerns immediately to the police and your bank.
There are several red flags of an impersonation scam that we’ve listed below to help you better protect yourself. Please be wary if any of the following happens:
Heritage will never contact you to request your login passwords, one-time passwords (OTP), card, or account details. We may ask security questions to verify your identity.
If you have been contacted or are concerned about your privacy, please call us directly on 13 14 22 or visit a branch. Please be aware that if you share your banking passcodes with anyone, you may fail to meet our passcode security requirements, which could result in you being liable for losses arising from unauthorised transactions on your account. We will never ask for sensitive information via text message, such as an access code, OTP or Internet Banking password.
If you think you have been a victim of a scam it’s important to call Heritage on 13 14 22 (available 24/7) promptly to limit the amount of unauthorised transactions on your account. We can also see if the transactions can be reversed or disputed. If you are overseas please call +61 7 4694 9000. DO NOT make further payments to the scammer.
Please ensure you change your passwords to secure your account and report the scam to ACCC (www.accc.gov.au) via the report a scam page. For more information on how to protect yourself from scam visit the Scamwatch website (www.scamwatch.com.au).
If a scammer has accessed your computer remotely you should have your computer professionally cleaned by a reputable technician to ensure there is no malware on your system.
More online security tips from Heritage are available here.