The CBA is the latest bank to be targeted by scammers

Photo: Anoeke De Groot/AFP/Getty Images

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia is the latest financial institution to be targeted by scammers, who are sending out fake text messages saying customers have had their account locked.

Other banks have been targeted similarly in recent years, with the message including a link to a fake website pretending to be the bank in the hope that the scammers can obtain account numbers and passwords.

The would-be thieves don’t know whether the hoax recipient is actually an account holder with the relevant bank, relying instead on coincidence.

The CBA issued on warning on Facebook on the weekend saying it will never send customers an SMS with a link asking for financial details.

A CBA spokesperson said the bank did not want to comment further to avoid any confusion with the ransomware attack currently sweeping around the globe.

Even the banking industry’s peak body has been enlisted by scammers in a long-running telephone trick involving calls claiming to be from the Australian Bankers’ Association. They ask about someone’s satisfaction with their bank. The caller asks for personal and banking details, including a name and driver’s licence number, bank account or credit card number, PINs or internet banking login. Sometimes they claim the person is owed a ‘refund’ for overcharged bank fees but they have to pay a fee for it and want the money sent via post or Western Union.

The ABA says it does not conduct customer satisfaction surveys or contact the public via phone, so just hang up.

The CBA’s SMS message scam comes as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealed a 47% jump in the number of scams reported to the ACCC last year.

In 2016, the ACCC’s Scamwatch and the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) received a combined 200,000 reports about scams, leading to losses totalling $299.8 million.

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