NAB scraps links in texts to combat scammers

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The National Australian Bank has revealed a tactic to discourage scammers from preying on its members. Links in text messages from NAB will be scrapped and replaced with a call to action. Instead of clicking on a link, you’ll be urged to contact NAB via telephone, email, or the app. This new action is enforced to help combat spoofing scams, and make it easier to identify if a message is legitimate or not. 

Spoofing is a term you might’ve heard tossed around when talking about scams. Spoofing is when an account, email, or phone number has one or two letters changed, to try and convince you that you’re actually talking to a trusted source.

Think Otpus instead of Optus, or Commonweaalth instead of Commonwealth. You’ve probably seen the same thing happen on Instagram when you think a celebrity has followed or messaged you, but it's really just Beyoncé with an extra E trying to ask you for money (clearly not the real Beyoncé). 

Scammers often do this in text messages, pretending to be NAB, but changing a letter or two in their suspicious link so you don’t think anything of it. NAB has said they’ve already seen a 29% decrease in NAB-branded spoofing scams. 

“We want to make it as hard as possible for these criminals to steal money from hardworking Australians,” NAB chief executive, Ross McEwan states. “If you get a message that looks like it's from NAB and it contains a link, don’t click on it.” 

Members are reminded that NAB will never ask for bank details via text. They will never request that money be transferred to another account, or that you provide access to your bank account. 

Last year, The NAB sent 112 messages to its customers, many of which contained legitimate links. As of today, NAB is 95% through the process of removing links from text messages to its members. The process is expected to be fully completed by the end of the month.

NAB has also advised that there may be some circumstances where customers might receive a link. For example, those seeking domestic violence might not have access to other channels of communication. Still, we’d recommend proceeding with caution and not clicking on any link if you can avoid it.

How to protect yourself

To keep yourself safe from spoofing scams, we recommend taking the following measures. Triple-check all links – if you think it might be from a bank or a trusted source, check the link. If there is a strange character or double letter, it's not legit. 

Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you don’t recognize the number, or it's coming from an overseas location you know you don't have friends or family in, don’t answer it. They might leave a voicemail, from which you can deduce if they’re a scam number or not. 

Don’t hand out your information. If somebody is asking for sensitive information like bank details or personal questions, they might have nefarious intentions. Always make sure you’re talking to a trusted source when giving away personal information. 

Know what to look for. If ‘nettflix’ is asking you to confirm your bank details, have the common sense to realise it might not be from Netflix themselves. Emails from trusted sources probably won’t go straight to your spam inbox and don’t have big threatening buttons asking you to confirm your bank details.

Final word

Always keep your wits about you online. If something seems too good to be true, it probably isn't. Don't give away your personal information, and be wary of suspicious links. If you've fallen victim to a scam, contact your financial institution and report the scam to Scamwatch for support. 

Hannah Geremia
Written by
Hannah has had over six years of experience in researching, writing, and editing quality content. She loves gaming, dancing, and animals, and can usually be found under a weighted blanket with a cup of coffee and a book.

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