We’ve all been there: worked up a sweat stressing cause we clicked that dodgy ‘parcel tracking’ link. Lost sleep wondering whether to transfer money for that online find, that seems too good to be true.
The sad truth is that there’s some really uncool humans out there who’d like to trick you into handing over your hard earned cash, and don’t care that you need it.
In this blog:
- Some scams we’re seeing lately
- Signs it’s a scam
- How Up keeps your money secure
- What’s in your hands: protect your money from scammers.
- Teamwork makes the dreamwork: save this number to report a scammer
What Scams are Scamming right now
We’ll give them this much credit, and no more: scammers are good at inventing new ways to be shitty people and get their hands on your money and private details.
Most of what we’re seeing is operating by SMS and online marketplaces. Here are some making the rounds.
The Urgent Request
This one’s a ticking timebomb. The sender ID on this SMS looks legit, and so does the page on the other side of that link. Sometimes it’s a request for your card info, and other times for your login details. If it’s the latter, you’ll probably get a follow up text asking for the verification code sent to your phone, ultimately handing over the keys to your account. Beware.
The False Alarm
It could be an ‘outstanding road toll’ or an ‘overdue bill’. The amount is usually small, but that’s just a ploy to not raise your eyebrows. Once you’ve punched in your card details, they’ll punch you right in the nest egg by taking your card for a joyride.
The False Friend
It kicks off with a heartless crook posing as a friend or family member. A text comes through explaining how they’ve lost or broken their phone, and they now have a new number.
The next stages vary, but their tactic remains the same — earn the trust of the target. Once a bond is built, a request for money is made. And it can take many different forms: “I need money for fuel”, “I need to pay a bill”, “I need a new phone” — the list goes on. The point is, always triple check before sending money to a random account.
The Slimy Seller
Is the asking price on that PS5 too good to be true? Sorry but it probably is. There’s no stopping someone setting up an ad online that will be sure to tickle your temptation. If you pay before you check out the item in person, you could be kissing that moolah goodbye.
Always be on the watch and make sure that what you’re buying actually exists and the seller isn’t going to ghost you.
The Info Hunter
Don't be fooled: these dodgy cats aren't actually conducting surveys on first pet names or the street you grew up on. And they don't need your ID document to confirm your identity before selling you something on Gumtree. While they may sound convincing, you should always take a second glance. If it doesn't feel right, keep your secret details and ID documents to yourself.
There’s other scams around too, like people who want you to ‘invest’ in their NFTs and crypto. Then disappear. Or people who pretend to be in love with you so you’ll send them money. Special place in hell for them. But the ones above are the most common, and the most likely to catch you out amongst the rush of everyday life.
Signs It’s A Scam
- It’s got urgency to it. The folks at your water company aren’t going to cut you off over a half an hour delay.
- There’s a ‘need’ for your personal info. Nobody needs your password ‘cept you.
- There’s threats of bad stuff happening.
- The spelling and phrasing are a bit off, or the link is obscured or looks weird. Best bet is to head to the actual website itself. Not sure about an ‘Auspost’ tracking link? Go to Auspost yourself via Google, not the link.
How Up Keeps You Safe
Feeling a bit worried? Let’s skip to the good part. Up has some real nice inbuilt controls for safety.
First of all, we’re mobile only. To get into your Up account, scammers would need access to your physical phone or a code sent to that number, your mobile phone number AND your 6-digit Up passcode. Definitely chuck FaceID or a passcode on your phone too for added security and you’re looking pretty good.
If it so happens that the planets align and someone suss manages to get hold of all your info, we'll make it hard for your hard earned cash to quickly leave your account. If somebody registers a new device to your account, any payment made will cop a delay and be scheduled for later, giving you a fighting chance to get that email, tell us you're in trouble, and send our team into Protect mode.
We also limit your outgoing payments. If you try to make a payment of more than $5k, we chuck a delay on it and send you an email (just in case it wasn't you) - not cause we're the boss of you but because it gives us and you a chance to make sure all is right in the world.
The team does some other stuff behind the scenes too, like looking for anomalies and patterns. Our digital guard dogs often pick up things one scammer tends to do, and match patterns to pick up another.
We won’t tell you all the stuff we do because, like Q in his lab making seagull-shaped breathing gear for James Bond… sometimes you need to keep your secret weapons secret.
Things Only You can Control
Much as we’d love to put your money behind two really angry sabre tooth tigers, there are times in life when we’re not there and you’ll need to tap into some street smarts. You wouldn’t actually want two vicious beasts guarding your cash all the time, because sometimes you need to easily pay for stuff to live your life. If we stopped you from buying a bike on Marketplace, we wouldn’t be a very good bank.
When buying stuff from a person you don’t know online, use your spidey senses. Is it too good to be true? Is the seller making up excuses as to why you need to move money this very moment? Tell ‘em to take a hike. OSKO (the system banks use for most small transfers) is close to instant, so go touch that bike, fondle its handlebars, make sure it’s definitely a bike as advertised, THEN send an OSKO payment. The seller will get that money right away, so there’s no need for them to push for anything earlier.
The world wide web is vast and filled with questionable characters building pretty convincing looking web pages, so it can be hard to tell if the online site you’re shopping on is legit. If you’re ever concerned that your card details have been compromised when shopping online, tap on ‘Cards’ menu under the Up tab in-app and freeze your card immediately, then hit up our fine Support folks through Talk To Us to figure out next steps as a team.
Your identity is a delicate and precious flower (unpack that however you like). Always think twice before giving away the secret information that makes you, you. Nobody REALLY needs a photo of your licence to 'prove that you're real'-- try a photo of you with the latest copy of Woman's Day instead.
If it can be used to buy a drink or get on a plane, don’t share it: someone else can use it to pretend to be you.
See something, Say Something
It may feel like it’s all taken care of, but every report of scamming attempts helps us massively.
We are often able to get scammy websites, for example, taken down quickly. But if we don’t know about them we can’t do anything to help – we need you! So if you take one action today – it’s please save the number 0429 557 997 in your phone, maybe as “Scam report”. That number has one purpose in life, and it’s collecting scam reports.
Then when you get anything uncool, forward it on and our fierce security team (we did have to give the sabre tooth tigers something to do) can get the site taken down ASAP to protect other customers, save others, and potentially stop some shady scammers in their tracks. You legend 👏
Heavy, yeah? Look it is. We’re here for you and since you’ve given us the massive job of being your bank. That’s phenomenal, and also something we have to take very seriously.
The team at Scamwatch have put together some genuinely great stuff including the Little Black Book of Scams. Check it out.
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