ANZ is encouraging customers to be vigilant to scam activity during the festive season as scammers take advantage of busy schedules, and an increase in online shopping, giving, and travel.
ANZ saw a 22 percent increase in scam-related activity this year, and similarly, the Australian Cyber Security Centre observed a 13 percent increase in the number of reported cyber incidents. Scams are most commonly delivered via phone call, text, and email with more than 90 percent of cyber attacks reported to begin as phishing emails.
ANZ Head of Customer Protection, Shaq Johnson said: “This busy time of year can leave Australians more susceptible to scams and cyber-attacks.”
“Individuals, organizations, and businesses are often distracted by holidays, shopping, and other end-of-year events.
“As people prepare for the festive season, it’s important to be cyber safe and cyber resilient. Ensure cyber resiliency plans are up to date and encourage conversations with friends and loved ones – perhaps around the Christmas table – about the evolving scams and cyber environment.”
There is nothing festive about Christmas scams. Things to prepare for this festive season:
Bank Impersonation Scams. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of Australians’ heightened awareness to scam activity and are cold calling, or texting customers claiming to be from their bank’s Fraud Prevention team. The scammers try to panic the victim by telling them their account is at risk of fraudulent activity and often share personal information to support their claims before requesting sensitive account details, like internet banking registration information, passwords, and card and PIN numbers. ANZ will never ask for personal information over the phone. If you’re unsure if a call is legitimate, ask where the call is coming from and call them back at a number listed on official websites.
Business email compromise (BEC) & requests to update payment details. Falsely modified invoices are a popular approach for deceiving businesses of funds throughout the year, but the signs can be easily missed during the busy lead-up to Christmas. Ensure all requests to change payment details are checked before submitting payments, including those from your builder, conveyancer, or supplier.
Fake parcel delivery. It’s the most popular time of the year for online shopping and cybercriminals are quick to take advantage by impersonating popular courier services and sending tracking links by SMS or email. Never click a link or pay additional delivery fees and always visit a business website directly to track online shipping.
Fake e-gift cards. E-gift cards are an increasingly popular method of gifting. Cybercriminals take advantage of this by sending fake gift cards to trick customers into clicking on a link and handing over their personal information, including banking details. Never click on a link and always visit the retailer’s official website to check if a gift card is legitimate.
“Hey, Mum” scams. Impersonating family members, often under the guise of a lost phone, is a popular method for scammers to gather personal information and convince recipients to urgently transfer money. Stop and think twice when anyone, even someone you trust, asks for urgent funds.
Travel scams. Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year to travel. Cybercriminals take advantage of this by setting up fake websites and tricking people into a great deal for travel or related services, like insurance. Another way cyber criminals take advantage of increased travel is by offering ‘compensation’ for disrupted travel. Never give personal information or share travel plans with anyone you don’t know. Always ensure correspondence with an organization is through its official website. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
ANZ encourages customers to make a PACT to protect their virtual valuables, which means placing the same emphasis on keeping information safe and secure online as one would with physical valuables, such as a house, car or wallet.