With technology always changing, and scammers becoming even more clever and cunning, It’s important to stay on top of the latest scam and fraud tactics used by scammers. By keeping your personal details safe and staying on top of the latest scams that are circulating, you can effectively protect yourself from scams and avoid being a victim.

How to stop a scammer from scamming you

How to stay safe from online scams

Reduce your risk of being scammed and pay close attention to the content of text messages or emails.

  • Before making a payment, always check for a padlock symbol in the URL bar, on the left hand side. This indicates that you’re on a secure website.

  • Any time you log on to online banking or shop online, make sure that the websites you visit has the correct website address in the address bar, which should include the correct extension (such as ‘.com.au’) .au indicates an Australian website.

  • If you receive a spam email, avoid opening it. If you do open it, never click on any links or open any attached files. Emails or links may contain malicious software (also known as malware) that can infect your computer or device and steal your information over time

  • Avoid responding to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers you don’t recognise.

  • Keep your personal details like name, address, date of birth, license number, tax file number, bank account numbers and online banking passwords safe. Never give these things out willingly. Remember an organisation may ask for things like name, address or date of birth  in an attempt to identify you over the phone, which should only happen if you have called them.

You should rely on reputable sources for scam information, and how to protect yourself online. These websites may also include the latest scams that are circulating.

How to spot a fake message

  • Scammers will use content that mimics the look and feel of official messages – scammers will use official company names and logos in communications, leading you to believe the message is legitimate.

  • Spelling mistakes and incorrect grammar is a key indicator of a scam message. Other things to look out for include a generic rather than a personal greeting, the names of made up organisations that don't exist, poorer quality presentation, overly official or forced language.

  • Be cautious if you're being asked to forward money or if you're told you've won a prize. Another tactic is to threaten you with arrest, even though you have done nothing wrong.

  • Any email or text that asks you to confirm, update or share personal or banking information has been sent from a scammer. Legitimate communications from banks, internet and phone providers will never ask you for your personal details via email or text message.

  • If there is an urgent call to action, such as asking you to unlock or verify an account, claim a prize or log in to a site and pay an infringement notice or outstanding debt.

Protect your money and bank details

  • Never give money, credit card details or online account details to anyone you don’t know and trust

  • Keep your receipts for a period of time as proof of transactions

  • Check your bank account and credit card statements regularly. A good way to do this is every time you get paid, receive government benefits or other income to your accounts

  • Report any unexplained transactions to your bank.

  • Keep your Visa cards safe and never hand them over to anyone else to use.

  • Make sure nobody else knows your PIN number. You can usually reset your PIN at an ATM supported by your bank, by visiting a branch or if you bank with Horizon, you can do this from within our app. Simply log in, click on cards > change PIN.

  • Don’t keep old cards or chequebooks lying around. Return them to your financial institution to be destroyed and to ensure they are no longer active.

  • Avoid being a victim of identity fraud - cut up expired cards through the magnetic strip and chip. Cut through the card numbers and dispose of the pieces in different bins so they cannot be pieced back together.

How to protect yourself - Don’t Click On That Link!

  • Press and hold a link on a smartphone to inspect it first if you’re unsure whether you should click on it.

  • Contact the business or organisation using a phone number from their website before you reply to any suspicious looking emails or text messages.

  • If you receive a suspicious email or text message and haven't engaged with its contents, such as clicking a link or replying to it, report it to Scamwatch and the relevant organization then delete the message.

  • If you have provided your online banking password to a scammer, give us a call immediately so we can assist you. If it is on the weekend, you can reset your password using the password reset link on the Online banking login page. If you have a Visa card you should report it to the Visa Hotline and also mark your card as lost or stolen in our app, as presumably the scammers will attempt to use it.

  • If you've clicked a link or opened an attachment from a scam email, close your browser, empty your browser cache and clear your browser history. Then perform a virus scan on your computer using anti-virus software. If you're on a mobile device, make sure you have updated your operating system, and run an antivirus scan if one is available on your device.

  • If you receive a call from a scammer posing as someone from a reputable organization, do not give access to your computer. Remote access means the scammer can look at your personal information and even install malware on your computer.

Getting support after being scammed

  • If a scam has caused you problems with debt, talk to a financial counsellor. They can help you get your finances back on track.

  • If you think someone has stolen your identity, you can contact iDcare - a free government-funded service which will work with you to develop a specific response plan to your situation and support you through the process.

  • You can apply for a Commonwealth Victims' Certificate - which helps support your claim that you've been the victim of identity crime. 


Protecting Yourself & Your Data Online

If you use the online world for shopping, banking or using social media, it’s important that you do this safely. Visit Scamwatch for more tips on staying safe online and how to spot a fake scam. The team at Horizon Bank are always here to help and answer any questions. Get in touch with us today and let’s work together to create a safer online experience.

Horizon Bank has a branch network spanning the NSW South Coast and Illawarra. Horizon Bank branch locations: Albion Park, Bega, Bermagui, Berry, Merimbula, Moruya, Nowra, Thirroul, Ulladulla & Wollongong.

The content in this article has been prepared by Horizon Bank for general information only and it is not intended to be professional advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should seek your own legal, accounting, financial or other professional advice where appropriate, and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Terms and Conditions before deciding whether to acquire any products or services offered by Horizon Bank and/or its affiliated partners. We do not recommend any third party products or services referred to in this article unless otherwise stated and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information and we do not endorse any content on those sites. Horizon Credit Union Ltd ABN 66 087 650 173 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence Number 240573 trading as Horizon Bank.