Bendigo Bank raises alarm on impersonation scams

This ahead of Scams Awareness Week 2023

Bendigo Bank raises alarm on impersonation scams


By Mina Martin

In anticipation of Scams Awareness Week 2023, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank is sounding the alarm on the escalating threat of impersonation scams, urging heightened customer awareness.

Scams Awareness Week, which will run Nov. 27-Dec. 1, illuminates the growing menace of impersonation scams amid a nationwide campaign that’s asking customers, “Who’s really there?”

Surge in impersonation scams

In 2022, ScamWatch has documented a staggering 14,603 reports of bank impersonations, resulting in reported losses exceeding $20 million.

Cybercriminals often impersonate cybersecurity or fraud specialists from banks, including Bendigo Bank, employing increasingly sophisticated and convincing tactics across communication channels such as phone calls, SMS, emails, social media, search engines, and advertisements.

Jason Gordon (pictured above), head of fraud at Bendigo Bank, said these new phishing scams are meticulously crafted to deceive recipients into transferring money, or into divulging their personal information or banking details.

“Criminals are getting adept at carefully constructing often complex communications that convincingly mirror those of the brand they are impersonating,” Gordon said in a media release.

The Bendigo Bank leader said bank impersonation scams significantly undermine trust in bank communications, making it challenging for banks to reach out to customers, who face the additional pressure to differentiate between what’s real and what’s a scam.

Identifying impersonation scams

Gordon said Scams Awareness Week is a timely opportunity to reinforce the importance of staying vigilant and informed.

“We encourage everyone to be cautious and verify the legitimacy of any communication, especially when it involves their bank and their finances,” he said.

Bendigo Bank identified the signs of a bank impersonation scam:

  • Conveys urgency or threats, such as “your bank account has been accessed,” “your bank account has been locked,” “a payment has been made from your account. If this was not you, please call (phone number)”
  • Looks different compared to usual communications, such as in wordings or phrases used
  • Contains suspicious links and verifying the legitimacy of messages
  • Includes a telephone number to call; be sure to find your bank’s number yourself
  • Tells you to move funds to unfamiliar accounts; genuine banks never make such requests

Combating impersonation scams

Gordon is encouraging customers who may have fallen victim to a bank impersonation scam to visit the bank’s website to report and get support.

For Bendigo Bank customers who are unsure if a call claiming to be from Bendigo Bank is legitimate, they are urged to hang up and contact the bank directly at 1300 236 344.

“Please remember the bank will never ask for your details, or to transfer money, download software or login via a link sent through email or SMS,” Gordon said.

To stop scammers in their track, Australians are urged to follow ScamWatch’s advice:

  • Stop. Refrain from providing money or personal information if unsure.
  • Think. Question the authenticity of messages or calls and avoid clicking on suspicious links.
  • Protect. Act swiftly if something feels amiss. Report unusual activity or scams promptly.

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