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Cyber criminals using interest rates as bait to trick customers

  • May 10 2022
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Cyber criminals using interest rates as bait to trick customers

By Paul Hemsley
May 10 2022

If you’ve ever found yourself on the receiving end of a suspicious phone call, e-mail or text message claiming to be from a major bank and demanding your details, you’re not alone – and experts are warning everyone to be on the lookout for fraudsters posing as banks offering information on interest rates.

Cybercriminals

Cyber criminals using interest rates as bait to trick customers

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  • May 10 2022
  • Share

If you’ve ever found yourself on the receiving end of a suspicious phone call, e-mail or text message claiming to be from a major bank and demanding your details, you’re not alone – and experts are warning everyone to be on the lookout for fraudsters posing as banks offering information on interest rates.

Cybercriminals

Bogus but alarmingly convincing communications from cyber criminals pretending to be a widely recognised financial institution has become a major problem, reportedly costing the economy $33 billion in self-reported losses in 2020-21, according to the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

But financial experts are warning that cyber crime could become an even bigger headache for banks and potential victims alike following the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) recent decision to raise interest rates.

According to GBG solutions consultant Alex Cherniakov, fraudsters are at the ready to pounce on consumers at their most vulnerable or those expecting some kind of change to their financial situation.

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“As more banks and financial institutions communicate changes related to the cost of servicing and interest rates in the coming weeks, scammers around the world will be looking to take advantage of this by impersonating banks, encouraging consumers to click on malicious links, and convincing consumers to share personal and banking information,” Mr Cherniakov said.

He warned Australians to “remain vigilant” as there will almost certainly be a rise in scams and fraud related to interest rates and repayment changes over the next few months.

Hoping to ensure Australian banking customers are aware of the potential risks in communicating with crafty scammers, Mr Cherniakov offered some common sense advice to help them avoid the ordeal of being swindled.

“Make sure you are only sharing information with trusted parties, never interact with a text, email, or unsolicited phone call,” Mr Cherniakov said.

He warned not to forget the basics such as maintaining strong passwords and using two-factor authentication.

Australia’s major banks have also offered warnings on their websites, including the Commonwealth Bank (CBA), which routinely reports phishing and investment scams.

Other major banks, including NAB, ANZ and Westpac also feature similar alert pages and forms to report suspicious activity.

Cyber criminals using interest rates as bait to trick customers
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