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Fraud and scam assistance

Our team is here to help

While most people believe they would never fall victim to fraud and scams, it is happening more frequently as scammers become increasingly sophisticated. It is critical that you are armed with the tools you need to protect your personal identity and your money.

BOQ Specialist's dedicated Financial Crimes Operations (FCO) team helps protect clients against fraud and scams or recover funds if clients fall victim. The information on this page is designed to help our clients, their families / friends, and the general public, more aware about fraud and scams. Read about different types of scams, how to protect yourself, latest alerts and how to report any concerns.

If you receive something that is suspicious, avoid clicking any links and report this directly to financialcrimes@boq.com.au  If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with our Client Service team on 1300 160 160.


Types of scams

  • Buying and selling scam
    What is it?

    A scammer poses as a genuine buyer or seller in an attempt to obtain your money or your goods and services. This can occur on fake websites, classified pages or social media sites.  

    Scammers as sellers: The scammer poses as a genuine seller of goods on common for-sale platforms. Goods often include pets, motorised vehicles and electronic goods. Following payment, the person often ceases all contact and does not exchange your goods. 

    Scammers as buyers: The scammer shows fake interest in your goods and services advertised online and misleads you into believing payment has been made. In some instances, these individuals will provide false records of payment and often request a refund for false overpayments. 

    What to look out for?
    • Product or service is advertised at below market price.
    • Payment requested via international money transfer, gift card, cryptocurrency, direct bank transfer or cash deposit.
    • Urgent payment requested, prior to arranging delivery.
    • Goods cannot be inspected prior to purchase.
    • Extra pre-paid charges applied - insurance, freight, taxes etc.
    Protect Yourself
    • Refrain from sending funds upfront.
    • Use secure payments such as PayPal or credit card.
    • Research the company or seller prior to proceeding with payment.
  • Business email compromise

    What is it?

    A business email compromise is where a cybercriminal breaches or impersonates the email account of an organisation or staff member. The offender impersonates the business through tricking the recipient of the email into sending money into a fraudulent account.

    What to look out for?
    • A change in bank details for the recipient of funds.
    • Inconsistent communication style and unusual use of spelling or grammar.
    • Sense of urgency for the payment to be made.
    Protect yourself:
    • Verify the legitimacy of the email by calling on a trusted phone number.
    • Use multi-factor authentication to secure email accounts. 
  • Romance scam

    What is it?

    Romance scams seek to form a close bond, playing on emotions and building trust, in order to steal money or commit financial fraud on a victim’s behalf. 

    What to look out for?
    • Contact will often occur on dating websites, messenger apps or social media.
    • Rapid declarations of love and affection.
    • Inability to meet in person - scammers often claim to be overseas or travelling.
    • Claims of financial stress, hardship or emotional trauma.
    Protect yourself:
    • Never send money to someone you haven't met in person.
    • Never send personal information such as bank details or personal photos that could be used as blackmail.
    • Trust your gut instinct.
  • Investment Scam

    What is it?

    Investment scams target an individual’s personal wealth by convincing them to invest in fake schemes and companies.

    These investments offer opportunities with high returns, low risk and ‘get-rich-quick’ incentives. 

    What to look out for?
    • Cold calls from a stockbroker, incentivising your investment.
    • False advertisements - including fake celebrity endorsements and testimonies.
    • Opening a cryptocurrency wallet, often done so by remote access.
    • Encouragement to invest, including early withdrawal of superannuation.
    • Sense of urgency - claims of a volatile market and possible missed opportunity.
    • Promises of a guaranteed return on investment.
    Protect yourself:
    • If the returns sound too good to be true, they probably are.
    • Seek independent financial advice from an advisor registered with ASIC. Click here to find an advisor.
    • Never provide personal information, bank account details or balances to a third party.
  • Threat and penalty scam

    What is it?

    A threat and penalty scam is where the scammer threatens you with harm, arrest or legal action in an attempt to extort funds.

    These cybercriminals often impersonate legitimate government or law enforcement agencies. 

    What to look out for?
    • Cold calls, automated voice messages, emails or text messages threatening severe action if you do not comply with payment.
    • Threats of deportation, claims of unpaid taxes or overdue bills, threats to expose incriminating online activity, compromised bank accounts or warrants for arrest.
    • Payment requested via international money transfer, gift card, cryptocurrency, direct bank transfer or cash deposit.
    • Requests to keep communications confidential and to lie to friends, family and financial institutions.
    Protect yourself:
    • End the phone call immediately and do not act upon any requests.
    • Never provide personal information, bank account details or balances to a third party.
    • Contact the relevant agency or department on a trusted number to verify the validity of the call.
  • Unexpected money scam

    What is it?

    In an unexpected money scam, a scammer poses as a person or entity that requests an up-front payment or an individual’s personal information in order for them to claim a large and unexpected sum of money.

    What to look out for?
    • Cold calls, emails, text messages, pop-ups or social media accounts claiming you are entitled to an inheritance, lottery winnings or a large sum of funds.
    • A request for up-front payment to claim the funds. This is usually in the form of an international money transfer, gift card, cryptocurrency, direct bank transfer or cash deposit.
    • Solicitors, companies or government agencies are commonly impersonated to persuade you into making a payment.
    Protect yourself:
    • Avoid any requests for up-front payment. Discuss the legitimacy of the claim with a trusted person.
    • Never provide personal information, bank account details or balances to a third party.

Protect yourself

  • Personal info and privacy

    Our personal information is any information that can be used to identify us. Identity theft is a type of fraud that involves using someone else's identity to steal money or gain other benefits.

    Your personal information may include:

    • Full name
    • Address
    • Phone numbers
    • School
    • Date of birth
    • Email address
    • Usernames and passwords
    • Bank details

    Be scam aware

    • Never provide your PIN or Online banking details to anyone - not even your bank. The bank will never ask you for this information.
    • Never disclose personal information over the telephone unless it can be verified that you are speaking to a trusted individual or service.

    How to protect your personal information

    Never provide personal information to anyone who calls or emails you

    Avoid phishing scams that ask for your personal information, like your address, bank account number, or tax file number. Be wary of anyone asking for personal information via text, on the phone or by mail. Identity thieves may be pretending to be government agencies, banks or stores so they can get your information.

    Shred personal documents

    Never throw personal documents in the trash or recycling bin without shredding them first.

    These include:

    • Bank statements, Receipts, Medical statements, 401(k) or savings account statements,
    • Credit card offers, Expired plastic such as debit cards and credit cards,
    • Personal records

    Create Complex Passwords

    Weak passwords can be guessed, and even strong passwords can be figured out through methods such as brute force attacks.

    How To Create A Strong Password

    • Make your passwords very long
    • It should consist of letters with a different casing, special symbols, and numbers
    • Don’t use a common phrase
    • Don’t use passwords containing your name of Date of Birth
    • Don’t reuse your password
    • Use a password manager
    • Don’t store passwords in your browser.

    Monitor your mail

    Check your physical mail often. If you can, opt for paperless statements from institutions that may use your personal information when contacting you. If you're going out of town, place a hold on your mail, ask for someone to pick up your mail for you, or put a lock on your mailbox. If you expect certain documents to arrive in the mail, such as credit card statements, but they don't, alert your financial institution.  

    App privacy settings

    Even though application security can apply to desktop devices, the term is used mostly in reference to mobile apps. We recommend you have your settings fixed to private on all social media platforms. 

    Helpful links:

    Scamwatch: Identity Theft - https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams/attempts-to-gain-your-personal-information/identity-theft

    ID Care - https://www.idcare.org/

  • Online security

    It is important that you take responsibility to understand and protect yourself from digital security threats. You can help reduce the risk of digital security threats by implementing financial malware protection software.

    Malware is any kind of malicious software or code designed to exploit a computer, including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware and other malicious programs.

    Be scam aware:

    • Be wary of web links sent via text or email prompting you to sign in to your online banking or provide personal information.
    • Always access online banking via www.boqspecialist.com.au or via the mobile app.

    How to protect yourself online

    1. Keep your software up to date. One of the most important cyber security tips to mitigate ransomware is updating outdated software, both operating system and applications. This helps to remove critical vulnerabilities that hackers use to access your devices.
    2. Use firewalls and antivirus. A firewall is a software or firmware that prevents unauthorized access to a network.
    3. Install Anti-theft. Anti-theft refers to data protection and theft prevention when data is in transit or at rest.
    4. Do not charge your electronic devices by connecting them to other people's chargers or computers. Besides increasing the risk of malware infection, in some situations connecting devices to other people's computer equipment causes data to be transferred between them.
    5. Consider using a security token. Using a security token for online transactions can make it even harder for a scammer to access your account. BOQ Specialist offers physical and soft security tokens to assist clients in strengthening their online security.

    IBM Security Trusteer Rapport

    BOQ Specialist offers a free service called IBM Security Trusteer Rapport™. IBM Trusteer Rapport is a piece of software that operates like an anti-virus, but specifically focuses on Financial Malware. It can clean a device of malware already presented, and help to prevent any future infections. This will help to protect you against a potential fraud-related loss.

    For further information and instructions on how to download, please click here.

    Helpful Links:

  • Remote access scam

    A remote access scam occurs when a scammer contacts an individual asking them to buy unnecessary software or a service to fix a problem for the purpose of misleading them into disclosing their personal information. It is common for the scammer to pretend to be from a reputable company, often in telecommunications. 

    Warning signs

    • A representative from a reputable company calls you out of the blue, advising they have detected internet or performance issues with your computer or modem.
    • The representative requests remote access to your computer.
    • The representative asks you to log in to your online banking.
    • The representative advises they need to refund your account.
    • The representative informs you they have overpaid your account and instructs you to return the funds.

    How to protect yourself

    1. Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.
    2. Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
    3. If you receive a phone call out of the blue about your computer and remote access is requested – hang up – even if they mention a credible company.
    4. Consider protecting your computer with regularly updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall. Research software first and only purchase software from a source that you know and trust.
    5. If you have fallen victim to a scam or you receive several unsolicited emails and phone calls, consider changing your email address and phone numbers.

    Helpful Links:

    Scamwatch: Remote Access Scams - https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams/attempts-to-gain-your-personal-information/remote-access-scams

  • Payments and transactions

    Card-Not-Present (CNP) fraud represents 85% of all card fraud in Australia. In 2020, $403 million of fraudulent purchases were made on Australian issued cards. To this end, it is important to exercise care when transacting online. 

    How to protect yourself online

    1. Check the website's authenticity. If you are shopping on an unfamiliar website, conduct your own research about the website to validate it is a reputable retailer.
    2. Make sure the site is secure. Typically in the address bar of your internet browser, you should see a little padlock to the left side of the website address.
    3. Know what you're purchasing. Whenever you enter card details online, be sure you know what you are purchasing and that the company you are purchasing from is reputable and legitimate.
    4. Be cautious when clicking links from unknown contacts. If you have received a hyperlink in an email or text, avoid clicking it and do not provide any personal information. You can check the link's legitimacy by hovering over it before clicking. If it looks unusual, discard the message. As a general rule, do not provide your personal details to anyone you do not know or trust, especially if it includes a proposition that involves payment.
  • Be scam aware
    • Stop - if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
    • Always seek independent financial advice prior to investing.
    • Be careful of who you interact with online. Look out for rapid declarations of affection and discussion of matters that involve financial hardship. 
    • Always confirm bank details or a change of bank details over the phone prior to making payment. Never confirm by email.
    • Refrain from sending funds upfront to a private seller and purchase in person where possible. Conduct your due diligence before making purchase.

Report a fraud or scam

  • Unrecognised transaction

    Sometimes a business, such as your favourite restaurant, can trade under a different name to what appears on your statement. Look up the merchant’s name to help identify the purchase. Also consider that the date on your online banking is the ‘settled date’, which may be a few days after you originally made the purchase.

  • Lost or stolen card

    If your card has been lost or stolen, call us immediately on 1300 160 160. We can assist you with placing a block on your card.

    If there is a chance you might find the card, we can temporarily block the card while you look for it. Otherwise, we can help arrange a new replacement card for you. 

  • Phishing

    If you have received a phishing text message, email or phone call and provided personal information or bank details, call us immediately on 1300 160 160.

    If you received a BOQ Specialist branded phishing text message, email or phone call, but did not provide personal information or bank details, please let us know via email at financialcrimes@boq.com.au.

  • Report a Scam

    Scam funds move quickly. If you are concerned you have fallen victim to a scam, please contact us straight away. We assist clients who have been scammed every day. Please act fast, call us and we can try to help you recover your funds.

    Call us immediately on 1300 160 160.

  • Important Information

      Any information is of a general nature only. We have not taken into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs when preparing it. Before acting on this information you should consider if it is appropriate for your situation. BOQ Specialist is not offering financial, tax or legal advice. You should obtain independent financial, tax and legal advice as appropriate.