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Banking and credit scams

How to spot and report scams and protect yourself

Page reading time: 4 minutes

If someone you don't know asks for your personal details or offers you a loan, it could be a scam. Scammers can use your personal information to steal your money and run up debts in your name.

If someone contacts you about an investment that you think could be a scam, see investment scams.

How to spot a scam

Scammers can target you online, by phone or by email. Know what to look for so you can spot a scam and protect yourself.

Credit card scams

Scammers don't need your credit card to use it. They only need your card details.

Signs of a credit card scam:

Check your credit card statements regularly, especially if your card is lost or stolen. If you see something you don't recognise, report it to your bank.

Loan scams

If someone contacts you out of the blue to offer you a loan, it’s probably a scam.

Signs of a loan scam:

If you don't recognise the lender, check the company details online and read reviews. Make sure it's not on our list of companies you should not deal with.

Phishing scams

Phishing is when a scammer tries to steal your personal information. The scammer pretends to be a company you know, like a bank or an internet provider. The scammer may contact you by email, phone or text, or on social media.

Signs of a phishing scam:

Don't click on any links. Delete the email or message straight away.

To find out about the latest scams, visit Scamwatch.

Report a scam

If you’ve been targeted by a scammer, report it to:

Banking and credit card scams

  • your bank or financial institution

Fraud and theft

  • your local police — call 131 444

Tax related scams

All scams

Call your bank quickly if a scammer gets access to your credit card, bank account or personal information. Your bank can freeze the account and may be able to reverse an unauthorised transaction.

Support after a scam

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've been scammed and need someone to talk to, contact:

How to protect yourself against scams

Scammers are skilled at finding ways to get your details and your dollars. Follow these simple steps to protect yourself from scams.

Use strong passwords

Strong passwords make it harder for scammers to hack your online banking or email accounts. For tips on creating a strong password, visit Stay Smart Online.

Secure your computer and mobile devices

Make sure your computer's antivirus software and operating system is up to date. These can help block scammers before they attack.

Password-protect all your devices. If you're using a shared or public computer, never save passwords and always log out of your accounts.

Shop on secure websites

Only shop on websites you trust and make sure the website is secure. The web address should show a closed padlock or key and start with 'https'.

Avoid public Wi-Fi

If you're using a public Wi-Fi network, don't send or receive sensitive information. For example, don't log in to your online banking or social media accounts.

Shred your documents

Shred letters from your employer, bank or super fund before you throw them out. These letters often contain personal details that scammers can use.

Check the lender is licensed by ASIC

By law, all lenders must hold a credit licence from ASIC. You can check if a lender is licensed on ASIC's website. Choose 'Credit Licensee' in the drop-down menu when you search.

If they don't have a licence, don't deal with them and report them to ASIC.

Man sitting on stool.

Kyle finds an unusual purchase on his credit card statement

Kyle needed to buy a new laptop. He found a great deal online for half-price. He hadn't heard of the company before, but decided that the offer was too good to pass up.

The next week, Kyle noticed a large purchase on his credit card that he didn't make. He called his bank straight away and asked them to freeze the account. Because Kyle acted quickly, the bank was able to 'charge back' (reverse the transaction) and Kyle got his money back.

Kyle reported the website to his local police, and to Scamwatch so they could warn others.