A British man claiming to be part of a major bank’s “fraud prevention” team has almost tricked a New Zealand woman into almost falling for a financial hoax.
Westpac has released an audio recording of an impersonation scam call after a recent spike in cases, warning customers to watch out for unexpected calls.
In the audio, a man dubbed Martin Moore claimed he was calling from the Westpac Fraud Prevention Team over a purchase made from the New Zealand women’s card in Mexico.
“I’m calling in regards to your credit card. If you do want to check the authenticity of this call, you can check the number that I’m calling you from today – it’s on the back of your card,” he is heard saying.
“There’s been a transaction attempted to a Palacia Herrero in Mexico using your card details ending with [redacted].
“Are you currently in Mexico trying to use your card at all? Okay there’s been a transaction attempted using the correct card details.”
The scammer, who already had the woman’s credit card number, then asked her for a six-digit code sent to her mobile number.
He claimed it was a cancellation code when it was really a six-digit code sent to complete an online purchase.
The audio demonstrated some of the warning signs customers should watch out for, including an unexpected call from a bank, a caller identifying themselves using the number on their card, and creating “fear and urgency” through the threat of a fraudulent transaction.
Westpac Head of Fraud Ben Young also warned customers to look out for suspicious numbers.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in cases where scammers are using software to mask their phone number with the number of known businesses. This is a commonly employed tactic in impersonation scams known as ‘call spoofing’,” he said in a statement.
“These scams are incredibly challenging to detect because from the customer’s perspective, they appear to be getting a call from say Westpac, when in fact, it’s a scammer posing as a member of our fraud team calling from a completely different number.
“The scammer will then use personal information they’ve fraudulently obtained, like quoting the customer’s name or last few digits of their credit card, to convince them the call is genuine.”
To combat these scams, the bank is working with Optus and other telco partners to apply blocks that will stop scammers from being able to use call spoofing software.
More than 94,000 Westpac phone numbers have now been added to a ‘Do Not Originate’ list, which will prevent scammers from impersonating the bank’s numbers.
“We urge Australians to remain cautious of any unexpected phone calls, text messages and emails from a known business and always consider what they’re asking you to do,” Mr Young said.
“If ever in doubt, hang up and call back on a publicly listed number to ensure the call is genuine.”
Impersonation scam red flags:
- Unsolicited contact. They unexpectedly call, SMS or email you claiming to be from a reputable business.
- They know personal information. They have often already fraudulently obtained personal details like your name, ending digits on your credit card or approximate location, which makes them appear legitimate.
- They want you to action something. They will often instruct you to complete an action while on the phone to them – like updating your banking details, increasing your daily payment limit, downloading an app or sending money to a ‘new’ account.
- They use spoofing software. They may use software to send you a fake SMS that appears to be from the business they say they’re calling you from while on the phone with you to convince you the call is genuine.