The rising threat of scams

According to Scamwatch, over $107 million was lost to scams in 2018. Nearly two thirds of that was in investment scams and dating/romance scams alone, which tells us that scammers have their biggest payday when they prey on our desire for money and companionship.

According to Scamwatch “Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch you off guard. Scammers are getting smarter and taking advantage of new technology, products or services and major events to create believable stories that will convince you to give them your money or personal details.”

Once scammers have your personal information, they can commit fraudulent activities such as using your credit card to make online purchases or opening a bank account.

While financial loss from fraud is generally covered by the Bank’s insurance, things are not so straightforward with scams. According to Scamwatch “If you’ve given your personal details to a scammer, you’re unlikely to get your money back.”

In simple terms, if you hand over your personal details to someone or give them access to your accounts, you are legally recognised as having participated in the scam. While efforts can be made to retrieve your money, a return is not guaranteed.

“The best way to fight fraud is to prevent it, and the best weapon to protect our members against fraud is knowledge. Education is the key to success when combating scammers and keeping you safe,” Con Nikolaou, Head of Cyber Protection, Teachers Mutual Bank said. has comprehensive information on how to spot a scam and protect yourself from the threat, or you can visit the Teachers Mutual Bank security hub on our homepage for helpful hints and tips.

In general, when it comes to your online safety:

  • never share your pin number or security codes with anyone
  • never give anyone remote access to your device
  • never click on any unsolicited links, articles or emails
  • do you know the person or organisation who is contacting you, or is there a valid reason for them to do so? If the answer is no, then do not respond, and
  • does the offer you’ve received appear too good to be true? If so, there is a good chance it is a scam.

Remember, Teachers Mutual Bank will never contact you to ask you for your personal or other sensitive information, so do not give this out over the phone or send it via email. If you are concerned that your account has been compromised in any way, contact the Bank immediately. You can also report a scam on the Scamwatch website.