In time for Scams Awareness Week, 27 November to 1 December, Bank of Queensland (BOQ) has rolled out a new series of face-to-face education across 147 branches to help communities safely navigate scams and fraud.
The two-hour scams and fraud awareness sessions are delivered by BOQ local branches directly to customers and local community groups.
Content highlights the importance of staying safe online and provides advice on how to recognise, prevent and report scams and fraud.
BOQ designed the sessions in response to the growing concern around scams and fraud, with the bank reporting a 30 per cent increase in scam and fraud activity over the past financial year.
The content has been updated since it was first presented to hundreds of customers and community group members across Australia.
BOQ’s General Manager of Financial Crime, Benjamin Hargreaves said the sessions are designed for the full spectrum of digital users, no matter how advanced customers may be in using digital banking services.
“From the sessions we’ve already rolled out, communities are appreciating the in-person opportunity to ask questions and share examples of the types of scams they had received – whether it was online, over the phone or via text.
“The common theme we’re noticing is how increasingly sophisticated and convincing impersonation scams are appearing,” he said.
“While there are many different types of impersonation scams, one of the most concerning is bank impersonation scams.
“These scams impersonate bank brands, like BOQ with criminals often posing as cyber security or fraud specialists, and are designed to trick people into transferring money, providing personal information or banking details.
“That’s why, during Scams Awareness Week, we’re encouraging customers to not only stay vigilant and informed via one of our BOQ’s scam and fraud awareness sessions, but ask themselves: ‘who’s really there?’.
“It’s important to verify the legitimacy of any communication, especially when it involves your bank and your money. If you’re speaking to someone claiming to be from BOQ and you’re unsure if the caller is legitimate, hang up and contact us directly using the number on the back of your card.”
BOQ’s scams and fraud awareness sessions are being deployed alongside other BOQ operational measures to improve the detection of scam activity and keep customers safe.
“As a bank, we’re investing millions of dollars into our fraud technology uplift every year and collaborating with government and industry including the recently announced Scam-Safe Accord,” added Hargreaves.
Local community, social and sporting community groups are encouraged to contact their local BOQ branch to arrange a session for their members.
To remain vigilant against scammers, BOQ recommends the following advice from Scamwatch:
STOP – Don’t give money or personal information to anyone if unsure.
THINK – Ask yourself could the message or call be fake?
PROTECT – Act quickly if something feels wrong.
For more information on BOQ or what to do if you think your account is at risk, search boq.com.au/fraud-and-scams through your web browser.