Bank Scams Australia: How to Recognise Them and Protect Yourself!

Bank Scams Australia: How to Recognise Them and Protect Yourself!

Scarily, bank scams are on the rise in Australia, affecting countless individuals and businesses and costing millions in lost savings. As the crooks resort to more complicated and elaborate schemes, understanding the basics of how these scams operate and knowing how to protect yourself is crucial.

Recently, I had a wakeup call when a close family member of mine fell victim to such a scam, losing their life savings. Sitting on the phone to them feeling helpless, I did my best to dive into action, but by that point there was nothing I could do. This issue still has not been resolved and it is a very stressful waiting game for them while the relevant authorities attempt to catch the scammers and recover the money.

This personal experience has driven me to share valuable information on recognising and preventing bank scams and help us all become a little more vigilant when it comes to protecting our valuable assets.

It is super important to get this information out there, so please share and make sure we spread the word far and wide. In turn, let’s send these scammers packing back to where they came from and keep our hard-earned money in our bank accounts!

What are bank scams?

What are bank scams?

Bank scams are deceptive practices designed to steal money or personal information from individuals.

Common types include:

  • Vishing: Voice phishing, where scammers call pretending to be your bank.
  • Phishing: Fraudulent emails or websites that mimic legitimate banks to steal sensitive information.
  • Smishing: SMS phishing, where scammers send text messages posing as bank representatives.

Why bank scams are prevalent in Australia

Technological advancements

Ever-increasing advances in accessible tech has made it easier for scammers to operate. They can now create sophisticated fake websites and emails that look identical to those of legitimate banks, all from a home computer.

Financial landscape

Australia’s robust financial landscape makes it an attractive target for scammers. In addition, the massive uptick in online banking has enabled opportunities for scams to increase and diversify.

Lack of awareness about bank scams

Many Australians are unaware of the sophisticated methods used by scammers, making them vulnerable to these attacks. According to the Australian Banking Association, lack of awareness is a significant factor in the success of these scams.

The Aussie attitude

We Aussies are known for our tendency towards a carefree attitude to a lot in life – the old, “she’ll be right mate” kind of mindset, or the “it will never happen to me”. Sadly, it does happen all too often.

In 2023, it was estimated that Australians collectively lost $2.74 billion due to scams. This represents a slight decrease from the record $3.1 billion lost in 2022. Despite this reduction, the impact of scams remains substantial, affecting many individuals and businesses across the country.

During the 2022-2023 financial year, around 2.5% of Australians experienced a scam, equating to approximately 514,300 people. This victimisation rate was similar to the previous year. Notably, investment scams were the highest category of financial loss, accounting for $1.3 billion in losses.

Other prevalent scams included remote access scams, which resulted in $256 million in losses, and romance scams, which accounted for $201.1 million in losses​.

For more detailed information, you can visit Scamwatch and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Recognising the signs of a bank scam

Recognising the signs of a bank scam

Knowing the signs of a bank scam can help you avoid becoming a victim:

  • Unsolicited contact: Be cautious of unexpected emails, messages, or calls claiming to be from your bank.
  • Urgent language: Scammers often use urgent or threatening language to pressure you into taking immediate action.
  • Requests for personal information: Legitimate banks will never ask for sensitive information via email or phone.
  • Transfer requests: Banks will not call and ask you to transfer funds to another account over the phone.
  • Passcodes or passwords: A genuine bank will never ask for your online banking passcodes or passwords through email, text, or phone.
  • Remote access: Be wary if someone asks for remote access to your devices claiming to be from your bank.
  • Immediate action: Scammers may threaten to take immediate legal or other punitive action against you, creating a sense of urgency to make you comply.

These red flags can help you recognise bank scams and avoid falling victim.

Steps to take if you suspect a bank scam


Always call the number on your bank card or app to verify the legitimacy of suspicious contact; NEVER use the contact details provided in the suspicious message or email. Scammers have been known to create paid Google ads for banks that look legitimate, but which direct you to a dummy website and their phone number.


Report suspected scams to your bank and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)​. This helps authorities track and prevent further scams.

Monitor accounts

Regularly monitor your bank accounts for any unusual activity. Set up alerts to notify you of any transactions.

Practical tools and resources

Several free tools and resources are available to help you detect and prevent bank scams:

  • Antivirus software: Essential for detecting malicious activities on your devices.
  • Fraud monitoring services: Many banks offer fraud monitoring services to track suspicious transactions.
  • Educational resources: The Australian Banking Association provides valuable information on staying safe from scams; learn more.

Bank scams in Australia are a serious threat, but by staying informed and vigilant, you can protect yourself and your loved ones. Please share this information widely to help prevent others from falling victim to these scams.

Best advice about Bank Scams from CLP Advertising & Photography Services

Best advice: Unfortunately, this is the world we live in now. The safest action is to always assume a bank message, phone call or email is a scam until verified. If you are ever unsure but have that knot in your tummy saying it doesn’t feel right, trust it! Don’t click the link or engage over the phone. Hang up and contact your bank directly with the phone number on your card.

Sometimes, calls or emails are real, but you will soon know if you take the appropriate precautions. For example, I regularly get calls about private health and I always hang up, but one day it was actually my health fund trying to contact me. After a few calls and hangups, the operator tried again and before I could speak (I was upset by this point), he said PLEASE DON’T HANG UP! He then went on to explain who he was and that the details I had just entered online were incorrect so they couldn’t send me my refund.

I apologised and explained how many fake calls I get, and he said he completely understood and was actually glad I am vigilant! There is a great lesson there; even if it’s a legitimate call, people won’t be offended that you hang up and call them back on the number you know is correct.

Follow us on Facebook for more tips and information on scams, or contact us if you have been the victim of a scam so we can help spread awareness of this costly game.