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United against fraud: combating scammers and protecting your finances

Hundreds of thousands of Australians lose their hard-earned money to scams every year. Recent Scamwatch data shows scammers stole $3.1 billion from Australians in 2022 alone. New scams are becoming more sophisticated and persistent. This is why as a customer owned credit union, we are proud to promote the launch of the new Scam-Safe Accord.

The Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) has joined forces with the Australian Banking Association (ABA) for a united approach to protect Australians against scammers. Together they have developed the Scam-Safe Accord, which outlines the actions every bank will take to protect consumers against scams.

The core of the Scam-Safe Accord is a new confirmation of payee system to be implemented across all Australian banks, mutuals and credit unions by the end of 2025. This system will help reduce scams by enabling Members to confirm their money is being transferred to the right person.

To support this system and put a stop to account identity fraud, all banks will be introducing unique identification measures to anyone opening a new account. Limits to payments to high-risk channels will further protect customers.

The Scam-Safe Accord also includes all banks actively pooling their intelligence about scams and fraudulent activity. By mid-2024, all banks will be acting on scam intelligence from the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange and joining the Fraud Reporting Exchange. This will allow critical information about scam transactions to be quickly shared across the industry, increasing the chances of recovering stolen funds and preventing further loss.

The war against scammers is a shared battle. While we are working proactively to combat scammers, they are actively devising new schemes and crafting new messages that look so believable you won’t feel the need to question them.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, scams affected two thirds of Australians aged 15 and over in FY2021-22. It’s important to stay vigilant and look out for potential scams. Here are 8 common red flags and things that scammers might say to you that you need to avoid: 

  • “It’s an amazing opportunity to make or save money.” If it feels too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Someone you’ve never met needs your help… and your money.
  • The message contains links or attachments. 
  • You are pressured to act quickly.
  • You’re asked to pay in an unusual or specific way (like gift cards e.g. iTune cards or virtual currency).
  • They ask you to set up new accounts or PayIDs.
  • They ask for your personal login or banking details (including card numbers).
  • They ask you to download software to your computer or mobile device.

If you notice any of these red flags remember STOP, CHECK, DELETE, and CONTACT.

  • STOP if something looks suspicious. 
  • CHECK if the message could be fake. 
  • DELETE if you’re unsure and DO NOT click on any links or download any attachments. 
  • CONTACT the company the scammer is claiming to be from via their publicly listed phone number to verify if the message is real and to report the scam.

Regularly check your accounts using Online Banking and the Police Credit Union Banking App and report any suspicious transactions immediately, call 1300 131 844 or speak to our friendly team at a branch.  

Learn more about scam safety through our Scams and Warnings page.