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Scams and Warnings

Although our priority is to assist our Members to bank securely, there are limits to what Police Credit Union can do as an organisation to prevent scams. Scammers seek to exploit Members rather than gaps in our transaction security. By regularly informing our Members, you will be in the best position to understand and prevent scams from being successful. Please read the following information to help protect yourself from scams.

What is a scam?

A scam is any fraudulent business, scheme or action that deceives a person out of something, but usually money.

As the security of banking channels increases, scams rather than fraud present the greatest risk to your money.

If you are involved with a scam, you may be liable for any money lost.

Scams are increasing

Scam activity is greatly increasing and a very costly issue. With record numbers of banking customers experiencing losses, Police Credit Union has increased security around online transactions.

These measures have been implemented to maximise protection for our Members. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to you – our intention is to inconvenience the scammers and to ensure we maintain our security levels.

How scams start

Be aware of the following, so that you are less likely to fall victim to a scam:

  • Unsolicited phone calls:
    – claiming to be a ‘banking customer satisfaction survey’ or similar.
    – asking for banking or personal details, or access to your computer or mobile device – no matter who the caller claims to be.
    – claiming you have been refunded money in error.
    – that are just recorded messages.

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Signs of scams

The best way to avoid scams is to understand the different ways scammers will try and trick you out of your personal information, money or goods. 

Scams can target anyone but are statistically most effective against over 55’s. Men lose the most money – usually through investment scams – while women are more affected by romance scams.

Here are some red flags that may indicate you’re at risk of entering into a scam:

Being asked to:

  • pay a private seller for any goods ‘sight unseen’, with cars and pets being the highest risk.
  • make payments at any point when selling goods privately (eg. for transport) – always wait to see the funds cleared in your account first.
  • provide remote access or to install any software on your computer or mobile device under instruction.
  • to install ‘a codec to view a video attachment’ or ‘an app to access voicemail’.
  • provide any login details or one-time security codes.
  • Provide payments as a refund for a ‘previous overpayment’. Check the source of the payment, as it may have even come from one of your own accounts.
  • Make payments to somehow receive a larger payment.
  • purchase gift cards and provide the numbers on these cards.
  • Complete transactions based on unsolicited instructions via phone, email, SMS, or social media.
  • Complete transactions to ‘protect your account’ or ‘catch a scammer’.

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Protect yourself from scams

Please be aware that scams are a major, common issue and an even greater risk to our Members than fraud.

Scammers rely on banking customers like you being the weakest link in the security chain, the more prepared you are against scams, the less successful they will be.

While scams take many forms, these precautions will apply to most cases:

  • NEVER provide remote access to your computer or mobile device, or download software under instruction.
  • NEVER provide login details or one-time passwords to ANYONE.
  • SLOW DOWN. Scammers will try to rush, confuse, or frighten you into participating in a scam. If you’re feeling pressured, be careful and don’t be afraid to end the conversation.
  • DON’T ACT IMMEDIATELY. Scammers will often present you with a problem, hoping you’ll panic and focus on solving it instead of being wary. 
  • TAKE TIME TO REFLECT ON OFFERS. Scammers will try to appeal to your personal vulnerability. For example, you might think “This investment will perform well and I’d be smart to take this up.” Or “It’s never too late to find true romance and this person is the one.” Consider all the possible risks and your own personal bias before acting on an offer. Make sure you talk to family and friends, or call us.

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Common types of scams

Investment scams

When something seems too good to be true, assume it is. Scammers will try to approach you by email, cold call, or social media with a money making opportunity. Investment scammers often flood search results with positive reviews of their brands, so a Google search is not enough research to spot risks.

Always contact a certified Australian Financial Planner if you are interested in exploring valid investment options.

Always remember that ALL investment strategies carry risk, and never commit funds you cannot afford to lose.

Coaching Scams

We are increasingly seeing our Members being coached by scammers on what to say to our credit union staff. Our Members are being falsely told that:

  • Police Credit Union staff are trying to steal your funds, therefore you should lie about the nature of a transfer.
  • The transaction may be queried, so you should lie to ensure it is processed.
  • You are being promised funds, therefore you will need to lie to Police Credit Union staff, to ensure funds are received.

Trust Police Credit Union – not the random caller on the phone. There is NEVER a valid reason to mislead any financial institution about the nature of a transaction. Even when the caller claims to be from the Police or even if the caller claims to be from Police Credit Union. The scammers are trying to discourage you from contacting Police Credit Union directly.

WARNING: If you mislead Police Credit Union about the nature of a transaction, we cannot protect your money. Funds successfully transferred due to a misleading story which you have provided – will be lost.

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Find out more

To find out more information about current scams, check out the government website, Scam Watch

To help you spot, avoid and educate yourself on scams, read the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s guide The Little Book of Scams.

Read more about the security of your money with Police Credit Union and how we protect you.

Get in touch

If you notice suspicious behaviour, unusual activity, a possible security threat on your account, or have any concerns, please notify us:

During business hours: 1300 131 844
After hours: 1300 131 844 and press 2 (to cancel a card)
If you are overseas: +61 2 8299 9101
Email us at [email protected] or visit us in branch