Banking and credit scams
How to identify and avoid credit scams
Scammers have clever ways to get your banking, credit card or
personal details, and to trick you out of your money by offering
you a loan.
Here we explain how you can protect yourself by spotting the
warning signs of banking and credit scams.
Credit card scams
Scammers don't need to steal your credit card to take your money
- all they need are your card details. They can get these
- contacting you online or by phone, pretending to be your bank
or another company, and tricking you into giving them your credit
- accessing your information from unsecured websites you've
- installing spyware on your computer so they can see the files
you use, websites you visit and information you store. Spyware can
be installed remotely.
Some scammers also steal new cards from letterboxes, skim the
details off cards to use later, or apply for cards using stolen
If scammers know your PIN, they can get cash advances from an
ATM using a 'cloned' credit card (where your details have been
copied onto the magnetic strip of another card).
Warning signs of a credit card scam
Your credit card details may have been taken by a scammer
- there are purchases on your credit card statement that you
- you have accidently given your credit card details (on the
phone or internet) to someone you later realise you should not have
- your credit card is lost or stolen.
Scammers will contact you via phone or email to offer you a loan
or credit. They will say they are a registered Australian company
or Australian credit licensee. They may even have an Australian
phone number or address to appear legitimate. If you agree to the
loan, they will ask you for upfront payments before you get access
to the money.
Signs of a loan scam
You might be at risk of falling victim to a loan scam if
- offered a loan by being contacted out of the blue
- asked to make upfront payments before you get the loan, to pay
for things like insurance, tax or initial repayments
- told to deposit your upfront payment into a bank account, a
cryptocurrency wallet or by buying a gift card for the scammer to
- emailed from a generic email address (e.g. a gmail, hotmail or
outlook account), or an email address that looks like it's from a
legitimate institution but is spelled incorrectly
- approved for a loan amount that is more than you require
- offered a very low interest rate.
Requests for account
Scammers may contact you via email, text message, social media,
or phone call and pretend to be a bank, financial institution,
phone company, or even a university or government agency. The aim
of the scam is to get you to give them your personal details, bank
account numbers, credit card numbers and most importantly, your
For example, an email they send may say there has been a
security breach and ask you to download their security software,
which is really a trojan virus. The virus could infect your
computer and give someone else control of it. It could also track
your key strokes to get your user names and passwords.
Signs of a phishing scam
The email or text message you receive is definitely a phishing
scam if it:
- claims to be from a bank or company that you do not have an
- contains a link that leads you to a website where you are asked
to enter your bank account details
- says your details are required for security and maintenance
upgrades or to 'verify' your account
- says you are due to receive a refund for a fee that you were
The email or text message could also be a phishing scam if
- does not address you by your full name
- has spelling errors or grammatical mistakes
- is a survey that offers you a reward or prize for filling it
How to protect yourself from
banking and credit scams
Scammers can be ruthless, so it's important to be vigilant about
protecting your information and know who you're dealing with. Visit
protect yourself from
scams for more information.
What to do if you've been
If a scammer gets access to your credit card or bank account,
call your bank immediately and ask them to freeze the account. See
do if you've been scammed for more detailed information on what
to do next.
Scammers are skilled at finding ways to get
their hands on your money. Always be vigilant about protecting your
personal information and be suspicious of anyone offering you easy
money - there is almost always a catch.
Last updated: 24 Oct 2018