Money safety

Safety tips when carrying money

The first and fundamental rule of safety when carrying money is: Don't carry large amounts of cash!

The second is: Don't advertise the fact that you are carrying money!

  • Divide your cash into different locations on your person (front pocket, coat pocket, shoes, etc.).
  • Keep your wallet in one of your front pockets at all times.
  • Do not carry cash in a backpack or back pocket.
  • Sew a small money pocket into the cuff of a trouser, sleeve of a shirt or even a bra.
  • Divide your bank/credit cards and keep them in separate locations.
  • Do not place money or valuables in lockers.
  • Be very careful how you carry your handbag, and never leave it open for someone to slip their hand inside.

Using an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)

You will be given a PIN (Personal Identification Number) which you will enter into the ATM to access your account. It is the key to your account and it is important that you never tell anyone your PIN. A bank or reputable business will never ask you for your PIN. If anyone does, be suspicious and never tell anyone your PIN. You should report the incident to the bank and the police. These general rules should be followed for money safety when using an ATM, especially at night:

  • Minimise your time at the ATM by having your card ready when you approach the machine.
  • Take a look around as you approach the ATM and if there's anything suspicious, don't use the machine at that time (report any suspicions to the police).
  • If you don't feel comfortable using a particular ATM, consider continuing on to another branch or using off-street ATMs.
  • Be careful no one is looking over your shoulder when you enter your PIN.
  • Do remember that EFTPOS can be used to withdraw cash at many other places, like supermarkets and service stations.
  • If you simply want to check your account balance or transfer funds between accounts, telephone or Internet banking can be used instead of an ATM.

If your ATM or credit card is lost or stolen (or if your PIN has been revealed to another person), notify your bank immediately. This will enable your bank to put a stop on your card immediately so that no one else can use it and get access to your money. Most banks have a 24-hour telephone number for reporting lost cards – it's a good idea to keep a record of this number handy at all times, just in case. If you don't know the number, ask your bank.
(Source: Australian Bankers' Association Inc.)     

Some customers have received fraudulent emails claiming to be from the Commonwealth Bank. These emails direct you to a fake website to complete a survey and also to capture your confidential banking information. Although these emails may appear genuine, they are fraudulent and should be deleted immediately.

The Commonwealth Bank does not send emails requesting you to confirm, update or disclose your confidential banking information. Scammers will always find the newest and simplest ways to attempt to defraud you.  You can see an example of this hoax in the latest news release.

Protect yourself from scams

A scam is an unjust scheme devised to separate you from your money in a dishonest or deceitful way and give little or nothing in return. Scams generally involve organisations or individuals operating under unregistered or fraudulent names. Scams often prey on people's vulnerability and use lies and tricks to convince you they are genuine.

An example of a scam is receiving fraudulent emails claiming to be from a bank, directing you to a fake website to complete a survey and also to capture your confidential banking information. Although these emails may appear genuine, they are fraudulent and should be deleted immediately.

Banks in Australia do not send emails requesting you to confirm, update or disclose your confidential banking information.

What is "phishing"?

'Phishing' refers to emails that trick people into giving out their personal and banking information. These emails seem to come from legitimate businesses, normally banks or other financial institutions. The scammers are generally trying to get information like your bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers. This information is then used to steal your money. Phishers are after your credit card numbers, account usernames, and passwords. Millions of these e-mails are sent out in the hope of snaring some unsuspecting person.   

The scam appears in your in-box as an e-mail supposedly from your bank or other well-known institution. It asks you to click on a link to change your personal details. The link takes you to a fake, but real-looking website, which tricks some people into giving their personal details to the "phishers".

Tips

  • If you suspect an email is fake or spam, delete it without opening it.
  • Keep anti-spam and anti-virus software up-to-date.
  • Never give your personal details by email. Banks and other legitimate companies will never ask for your personal details in email.
  • Don't click on links in email. Use your bookmarks to visit your bank's website, or type the address into your Web browser.
  • Check your bank and credit card account statements regularly.
  • If you think you may have provided financial information like credit card numbers to a phisher, contact your financial institution or credit card company immediately.

NEVER give out your personal or bank account details to somebody you don't know and trust. Don't be fooled by an email that looks legitimate or appears to link to a genuine website. Even if you think the email may be genuine, ALWAYS contact your bank to confirm an email's legitimacy before replying. Your best defence is to delete the email straight away.

Further information from Consumer Affairs List of Scams or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission link Scamwatch for information on a variety of scams or to report a suspected scam.