The process of getting your money back from a scammer can be frustrating, but it’s actually not that difficult.
A new banking syllabus by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) aims to tackle the problem of online fraud in the banking sector.
The ACCC’s course on online fraud is designed to help consumers learn how to spot a scam, and identify potential scams, and to help businesses recognise and deal with these types of incidents.
“Online fraud can affect any business in the financial services industry, but there is a difference between the ‘real’ fraud and frauds of the Internet that are ‘fake’ and those that are perpetrated with the purpose of defrauding,” ACCC chief executive Catherine Burn told Al Jazeera.
“When fraudsters target businesses, they don’t just target customers but also businesses’ suppliers and suppliers’ employees.”
Read moreAbout a week before the course was released, Burn was in Sydney when she received a call from a customer service representative from the financial institution, who said her account had been taken over.
“They’re telling me it’s the first time in my life I’ve had a bank take over my account,” Burn told ABC News.
“I’ve never had a problem in my banking career, so I thought, ‘This is really weird.
What’s going on?'”
She had no idea the account had previously been managed by a customer care department and that a fraudulent email was sent to her.
“The customer care reps said it was a real scam and that I had to come to the office to talk to a supervisor and explain that the bank was taking over my bank account and I had a debt and the account was in default,” she said.
“After about 10 minutes of being told that they’re taking over, the supervisor came in and we got the money back.
We paid the debt back in full, and we were all happy.”‘
I don’t trust the people who take my money’When Burn went to the bank to get her money back, she found a customer support person had told her the account would be restored at the end of October.
“We were actually supposed to be paid back the next week but that was taken off the calendar because of the holiday period,” Burn said.
The ACCC believes there are more than 7,000 bank accounts that are being hijacked by online fraudsters.
“Over the last 12 months, there have been at least 17 instances of fraudulent activities involving banking accounts being used for money laundering and other financial crimes,” Burn explained.
“Many of these transactions involve fraudsters impersonating financial institutions or companies to defraud customers.”
Read MoreMore than 90 percent of bank accounts used for fraud are linked to overseas financial institutions, according to the ACCC.
This means the account holders in Australia and overseas may be targeted by these criminals, and the money stolen is often used to buy drugs and other illicit items.
The banking industry is also vulnerable to these types “scams” and it can take up to seven days for the money to be recovered.
“Some fraudsters are well-connected, and their methods can be quite sophisticated,” Burn added.
“However, when victims believe that the financial institutions are taking their money, they have to be very cautious and alert to what they are being asked to do.”
For example, the bank may ask the victim to provide a personal contact and a bank account number to verify that the account has been legitimately opened and that the payment is made.
It may also ask for details of the account holder to confirm the identity of the bank account holder.
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