Bank fee court case may bring out scammers

The banking industry is warning customers to be alert to a phishing scam capitalising on publicity around the legal action on bank fees.

A class action against banks in Australia has seen a large number of customers targeted by fraudsters claiming to be from their bank.

Typically, fraudsters inform customers that for a small payment they will release fees customers are claiming in the class action. Fraudsters can contact customers by phone, text, email or in person.

“The Australian experience shows that phishing-type scams aimed at bank customers occur when there is publicity around a group action,” said New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Kirk Hope.

“It’s likely that fraudsters will capitalise on the group action in New Zealand to obtain payments from customers or gain access to their personal banking details.

“They are unlikely to target only customers who have signed up for the bank fee case. All customers will be at risk because of the action.”

“Customers are reminded to safeguard information relating to their bank accounts, and never to disclose their PIN numbers or account passwords to anyone”, said Hope.

This technique is called “phishing”. It works because the scammers target hundreds of thousands of email addresses, in the hope one or two fall for it.

Banks have security sections on their webpages with advice on how customers can protect themselves and where to go to report scams.