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NAB reveals scam ‘red flags’ costing Aussies $36m a year

Scammers on Facebook are tricking Aussies into handing over thousands of dollars, but NAB and CommBank have new methods to protect you.

Australians trying to get their hands on sold-out concert tickets are being warned to look out for scammers preying on FOMO, as two leading banks put new defence mechanisms in place.

National Australia Bank (NAB) customers will now get proactive alerts on their online banking or app to help customers spot “red flags” for ticket and marketplace scams as cyber criminals attempt to get their hands on your cash with the promise of fake tickets.

The process was rolled out earlier this year for wider scams but has been honed to detect if those sold-out Paul McCartney or Robbie Williams tickets you’re chasing on Facebook Marketplace, Spotify or Gumtree this week are real. The bank said the process had been working and “$220,000 worth of payments are abandoned daily” after an alert is issued.

Have you fallen victim to a scammer? Contact belinda.grantgeary@yahooinc.com

A screen shot from Facebook marketplace to represent scams.
Could you spot the scam tickets being sold on Facebook Marketplace? If the answer is no, it could cost you a pretty penny. (Credit: Yahoo Finance) (picture alliance via Getty Image)

Some of the signs users are fake include using stock photos or offers of “too good to be true” prices, with it never more important to keep a hold of your cash as cost of living pressures grow.

NAB isn’t the only bank tightening its scam protections.

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Commonwealth Bank Australia (CBA) this week launched a sophisticated algorithm developed with Telstra to identify ‘high-risk’ scam situations, such as being on a call when your account is being drained.

They think this could help save losses of up to $20 million to scammers.

CBA has also extended its NameCheck tech to other organisations that process payments, which it says has already prevented 10,000 scam payments totalling more than $38 million. It’s also “reduced mistaken payments by more than $100 million” since March.

Scammers' sophisticated techniques evolving

NAB’s rollout comes with a warning for Aussies as we head into festival season, summer sport is cranking up and concerts are selling out. People have unknowingly handed over cash to strangers as tickets are flogged off on social media. But sometimes, it won’t even be an approach from a random you need to be worried about. It could come from your own friends.

“We’re hearing about criminals hacking social media profiles and selling bogus concert tickets to the account owner’s friends, who aren’t aware someone else is controlling the account,” NAB security advisory and awareness manager Laura Hartley said.

“Even if it’s a friend you legitimately know, pick up the phone and talk to them directly before sending money.”

This was the case earlier this year when Taylor Swift fans who missed out on the sold-out Melbourne and Sydney Era’s tour fell into a scammer’s trap when offered an opportunity from a friend, or someone linked to a mate.

A 20-year-old woman from Sydney said she lost $1,200 after responding to a post from a “friend of a friend” and had already transferred cash for four tickets before “alarm bells” started to ring.

She contacted her friend who revealed her Facebook had been hacked, and that she’d received six calls from others in the same boat.

Her bank told her there was no way to recover the funds.

Scam red flags to look out for and tips to protect yourself

Red flag: Tickets for an in-demand event are for sale on social media

Tip: Look for tickets through official resellers, which have processes in place to verify tickets are legit.

Red flag: The tickets are heavily discounted or cheaper than the retail price

Tip: If the price of tickets sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Red flag: Social media profiles selling tickets that are newly created, based overseas, have random usernames or furiously re-tweet.

Tip: Look at the seller’s profile in detail to see when it was created, how active they are and if they have any reviews.

Red flag: The seller claims they can prove the tickets are legit, by sending you emails or screenshots of them.

Tip: Be sceptical. Do a reverse image search and if you see the same image of tickets or proof of purchase on other websites, it’s probably a scam.

Red flag: The seller wants you to pay via cryptocurrency or direct money transfer.

Tip: Be cautious and seek further information because private sales don’t offer buyers any protection if the ticket isn’t real. It’s safer to pay for tickets with a credit card because your funds may be recovered if something goes wrong.

How do I protect myself from scammers?

Aussies lost a record $3.1 billion to scammers last year, an 80 per cent increase on the previous year.

Scamwatch warns to beware of the following scenarios:

  • It’s an amazing opportunity to make or save money

  • Someone you haven’t met needs your help - and money

  • The message contains links or attachments

  • You feel pressured to act quickly

  • They ask you to pay in an unusual or specific way

  • They ask you to set up new accounts or Pay ID

What should I do if I think I’ve been scammed?

Contact your bank and report the scam. Ask them to stop transactions and stop sending any money.

Report the scam to Scamwatch here and make an official complaint to police here.

Watch out for follow-up scams, particularly ones promising they can get your money back. Scamwatch warned one in three victims of a scam were scammed more than once.

Lastly, get support for yourself. You can talk to a financial counsellor or reach out to BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or here for an online chat or Lifeline for crisis support online here or on 13 11 14.

Scam victims can also contact IDCARE to “reduce the harm they experience from the compromise and misuse of their identity information by providing effective response and mitigation”.

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