Twenty five people have contacted the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) in the past three days to report a telephone scam - and at least two have fallen victim.
The scammers claim to be calling customers on behalf of the “Australian Banking Association,” which is not the association’s correct name, before offering instructions on how to obtain a ‘refund’ for overcharged fees.
They then ask the customer to go to a post office to receive a so-called ‘refund’ - ranging from $5 000 - $7 000. Instructions are given to call the criminals on arrival at a post office, where they try to talk the customer into sending money, via the post or Western Union, claiming it’s a fee for the so-called ‘refund service’.
In several cases, customers have been asked to reveal additional information, including whom they bank with, how long they have beena customer of said bank, what their credit card number is and what their driver’s licence number is.
Steven Münchenberg, ABA chief executive, says that most customers contacting ABA after receiving the phone calls have been suspicious and have not provided any money or information to the con artists.
“However, members of my staff did speak to two customers who had sent [money] to the criminals - around $300 via Western Union. Unfortunately, there is no hope of retrieving that money and it is lost to fraud. These criminals are preying on people and we are urging anyone who receives a call with a promise of easy money to hang up.”
ABA has experienced a spate of phone scamming operations in recent times. Late last month, the association issued a media release relating to two other scams – one involving a fake “customer satisfaction survey,” aimed at obtaining secure information from clients and another which also related to a fraudulent “refund” via Western Union.
ABA urges customers to hang up immediately before reporting any potential scams to the association, so that further damage to may be prevented.