Spotting scams

Impersonation fraud

What is an impersonation scam?

These type of scams involve criminals pretending to be a trusted organisation such as a bank, the police or a government department. You'll get a phone call, text message or email that appears to be from a trusted organisation or person. A criminal might say your bank account is at risk and ask you to move your money to a ‘safe account’.

Tips on how to spot an impersonation scam

  • You receive a call, text, email or DM with an urgent request for your personal or financial information, to make a payment or move money.
  • You receive a message from a friend or family member requesting financial assistance often with an urgent reason such as them being stranded overseas or requiring medical help.
  • You’re pressured to act immediately. The caller pressures you to rush causing a level of panic.
  • You’re asked to transfer money to another account for ‘safe-keeping’.
  • You’re asked for cash or a payment as part of a police investigation or told money in your account needs to be analysed as part of an ongoing investigation.
  • You're asked to approve a payment in the mobile app that you didn't make.


Steps to protect yourself

  1. 01

    Your bank or the police will never ask you to transfer money to a safe account or ask for your full PIN, password or passcode.

  2. 02

    The bank won’t phone you and ask you to approve a payment – only approve payments that you know you’ve made yourself.

  3. 03

    Contact your bank or the organisation directly using a known email or phone number.

  4. 04

    Don’t give anyone remote access to your computer or install any applications or software to your computer or devices following a cold call or unsolicited message or text.

  5. 05

    Download and register free for Malwarebytes premium to keep your devices secure against things like viruses, ransomware and phishing scams.

  6. 06

    Register for biometrics within the app  as an extra level of security  which helps to protect you against fraud.

Refund scams

As part of an impersonation scam criminals might pretend you are owed a refund to get you to give away your One Time Passcodes (OTPs) or to get you to approve payments in the mobile app that you haven’t made, when what they’re really doing is trying to steal your money.

What's important to know

We take keeping you safe and secure really seriously and might sometimes ask to confirm your identity when you are paying for something online. Depending on how you bank with us, we might do this by sending you a text message with a One Time Passcode, ask you to generate a passcode using a card reader, or ask you to approve a payment in the mobile app.

Refund scams involve criminals trying to get around these security questions by tricking you into approving a dodgy purchase on your account.

They sometimes do this by pretending to be a well-known company and saying you’re owed a refund. They might:

  • Say you’ve been charged accidentally and you must hand over a One Time Passcode or approve the transaction in the mobile app, or you won’t receive the refund.
  • Say you’ve won a prize which must be released with a One Time Passcode or by approving the transaction in the mobile app.
  • Claim you must hand over a One Time Passcode or approve a payment in the mobile app to confirm your identity before money can be released.

One Time Passcode and transaction approval features in the mobile app were created for debits. If you’re told that you’ll receive a refund, this is a scam. 


How to protect yourself from refund scams

  1. 01

    Only approve payments in the mobile app that you have made

  2. 02

    Never tell anyone a One Time Passcode on the phone

  3. 03

    Remember that One Time Passcodes and payment approval features in the mobile app are extra levels of security to help prevent bad debits to your account, you’ll never receive money by giving them away

  4. 04

    Be suspicious of anyone getting in touch asking you to approve a payment or give them your One Time Passcode, your bank and other companies will never do this. End all contact with them straight away and call the bank on a trusted number, like the number on the back of your bank card

How to report fraud

If you think you may have been victim of an impersonation scam then we're here to help. 

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