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Impersonation scams: Who’s really there?


How to detect and defeat the criminals who misrepresent themselves online.

  • Finance
  • Read Time: 6 mins

Scams Awareness Week, from 27 November to 1 December, is casting a light on some of the darker activities conducted over the internet.

The week is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on behalf of the Scam Awareness Network (SAN), a group of government regulatory agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand whose members are responsible for consumer protection and policing in the areas of scams, cyber safety, and fraud. It is supported by major businesses, including CommBank.

The theme this year is impersonation scams, with the tagline, “Who’s really there?”.

Scamwatch reports that over 80% of scams reported involve some form of impersonation.

Scammers can impersonate financial institutions, telecommunication services, toll services, postal delivery services, and companies looking to recruit employees. Worryingly, they can even pose as your family members, friends, staff, or colleagues.

Through impersonation, scammers can use different scam types, using a variety of channels to trick people into providing sensitive or personal details, access to accounts, and the ability to transfer funds.

CommBank has partnered with the ACCC, SAN, and the National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC) to spread the word on how to protect yourself or your business during Scams Awareness Week and beyond.

It has released its tips on how to avoid impersonation scams. Some of these tips refer specifically to CommBank, but other responsible banks and financial institutions have similar customer protections in place.

10 tips on how to stay safe from impersonation scams


  • If you receive a call from someone purporting to be from a reputable company requesting you to provide personal information, online banking credentials or card details, access to your computer, or spruiking an investment product, among other things, hang up the phone and call the company on a trusted number you’ve obtained from an official website.

  • If you receive a call from CommBank, always request they use the CallerCheck verification service.

  • Never give an unsolicited caller or contact remote access to your computer.

  • CommBank will never send an SMS with a link requesting you to complete an activity. Likewise, the bank will never send an email with a link requesting you to enter any personal information, online banking credentials, card details or ask you to download software.

  • Before you make a first-time payment for any amount you are not prepared to lose, call the person or organisation you are paying on a trusted phonenumber, or use NameCheck to help review the account details.

  • A government agency or reputable company will never ask you to pay by unusual methods such as by gift or store cards, iTunes vouchers, bank transfers, or cryptocurrency.

  • CommBank will never ask you to disclose your Login ID, Login Password, or one-time passcodes (e-token or token codes).

  • Never share your one-time passcode, e-token code, or token codes with anyone, including CommBank.

  • Make sure your computer is protected with regularly updated anti-virus software that you’ve bought and installed yourself or with your company’s IT department.

  • Remember SCR. If anything feels odd; Stop, Check, and then if it’s not legitimate, Reject.

Helpful resources


You can find more information on scams by visiting this page.

CommBank has a range of webinars on helping you stay safe online.

If you think you may be caught up in a scam, cease transferring any more funds to the scammer and contact your bank immediately.

To report a scam to CommBank, forward it to hoax@cba.com.au or report it to Scamwatch.

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