Did you know that in 2020 alone, Australians lost over A$851 million to scams? The end of the financial year (EOFY) season is also one of the busiest times of year for scam activity, so you’ll want to be extra vigilant. Here, we give you some helpful information on avoiding EOFY scams.
Common scams to look out for
Since it’s the EOFY, you’ll find some scams are more prevalent than others. We’ll start off by giving you the low-down on three of the most common scams.
1. Tax office scams
Typical channels: Phone calls, phishing emails
How they do it: Scammers impersonate the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and may use aggressive, hasty tones to coerce you into making a payment under the pretext of unsettled debt. They may use threats — like the police being on their way to arrest you — to create panic that leads to compliance. They may even use personal information found online to convince you that they’re legitimate.
How to tell the difference between an impersonator and an official ATO call: ATO staff won’t behave in an aggressive manner and certainly won’t threaten jail, arrest or deportation. If you’re not sure, hang up and call the ATO back on 1800 008 540.
2. Payment redirection scams
Typical channel: Business emails
How they do it: Scammers impersonate employees of a business and request money to be sent to a fraudulent account (e.g. senior management redirecting funds or employees wanting salaries to be paid into a different bank account). They typically use fake email addresses that look genuine (e.g. email@example.com versus firstname.lastname@example.org). Some even hack into legitimate email accounts to amend bank details on invoices before releasing the emails to you.
What to do if you think you’ve received a payment redirection email: Stop all correspondence. Communicate using another internal channel, such as instant messaging or a phone call, and confirm the payment redirection in person. Follow your organisation’s payment procedure, no matter who the request appears to have come from.
3. EOFY shopping sales scams
Typical channel: eCommerce platforms, online stores, social media, classified websites
How they do it: Lots of legitimate businesses have EOFY sales, and scammers are well aware of this. They may pose as genuine online retailers or sellers offering consumer and luxury goods – or even pets at extremely low prices – while incentivising a direct bank transfer. They’ll become uncontactable once you’ve paid. You may receive fake items or nothing at all.
How to work out if a seller or product is genuine: Resist being pressured by limited-time offers, and check independent reviews of online stores and seller histories. Prices shouldn’t differ too much from official retail prices. When shopping online, consider using a Revolut single-use virtual card to keep your sensitive details safeguarded.
General warning signs
Scammers often succeed because their methods are so subtle that you’d never suspect them. To reduce your chances of being conned, remember that fraudsters often:
- Initiate calls, texts or emails out of the blue — sometimes with the official organisation logo as their profile picture
- Pressure you into quickly transferring money to avoid prosecution or fines
- Offer you an unexpected refund, tax rebate or grant
- Request payment to be made via direct bank transfer, gift cards or cryptocurrency
- Need sensitive information for “confirmation” (e.g. bank details, credit card number)
- Provide you with “remote assistance”
How to stay safe from scams
If something seems off, stop contact immediately. Also:
- Keep your personal information private (e.g. bank account, credit card details)
- Reach out to the organisation through official channels (e.g. customer service hotline or an email address you’ve found through a search engine)
- Open only emails, texts and page links you’re expecting to receive
Staying safe with Revolut
With fraudsters ramping up their activity this time of year, it’s important to understand how your financial institutions will communicate with you. In rare cases where we do reach out to you, we’ll contact you via in-app chat and let you know that we’ll be calling.
On a call, Revolut will never:
- Tell you that your money is in danger or ask you to move money to a "safe account"
- Ask for sensitive personal information (e.g. passcodes, PIN, card details)
- Reveal your account details
If we send you an email or text message, we’ll never send you a link to a website and ask for sensitive information (e.g. password, PIN).
Header image by Tara Winstead from Pexels. Body images by Tim Gouw from Pexels and Revolut.
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