As a customer you may be seen as a potential target for fraudulent activities. However by arming yourself with information and tools you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud.
After online fraud, there are three other types of fraud you need to be aware of:
- Identity theft
- Credit/Debit card fraud
- Cheque fraud
Identity theft is where a dishonest individual or syndicate will gather your personal details in order to gain some sort of financial or other benefit, leaving you the owner of that identity often in large debt with a negative credit history and in some cases with legal implications.
Your information can be obtained in many ways:
- Theft, including theft of mail from your mailbox at home
- By going through your garbage bins
- Telephone scams
The following can be used to assume your identity:
- Date of birth
- Utilities bills (phone, gas, water and rates notices)
How you can help protect your identity:
- Report any loss or theft of documents such as driver licence, credit card or passport immediately.
- Obtain a copy of your personal credit file (available from Baycorp Advantage) at least every six months to check on the status of your file.
- Keep tax records and other financial documents in a secure place.
- Cancel all unused or dormant accounts that you may have.
- Secure your mailbox with a padlock where possible.
Credit card and debit card fraud can occur when your card is stolen or reproduced in order to use the credit balance to obtain a financial advantage.
The creation and/or alteration of a credit/debit card occurs when the information contained on the magnetic strip is reproduced. This type of crime is known as ‘skimming’.
Credit or debit card fraud can also occur when your card is lost or stolen and used by a third party to purchase goods with those cards or to remove cash from the cards.
Credit or debit cards can also be intercepted in transit while being sent to you. Your cards can also be compromised by a dishonest merchant who undertakes unauthorised duplicate transactions on your card.
Protect your credit / debit card:
- Memorise your personal identification number (PIN). Don't use the same PIN for all your cards, and don't choose your birth date or other easily identifiable numbers that might be on something else in your wallet.
- Check statements and call your credit card issuer immediately if you see anything suspicious on your bill.
- Do not let your credit card out of your sight at anytime – for example, at a restaurant – go with the card.
- Card fraud is not applicable in Australia only – be just as vigilant when travelling overseas, credit card skimming is an international crime.
- Always sign your card in ink as soon as you receive it.
- Keep track of when new and reissued cards should arrive, and call the credit card issuer if they don't come on time.
- Make sure your mailbox is secure, and that only you and the postal carrier have access to it.
- Tear up all credit card receipts and pre-approved credit card offers into small pieces before you throw them away. Keep your billing statements in a safe place.
- When you use your credit card online, make sure you are using a secure website. Look for a small key or lock symbol at the bottom right of your browser window.
- Never give your card number to strangers or telemarketers who call you on the phone. Don't give your card number unless you initiated the call.
Cheque fraud is the use of a cheque to obtain financial advantage by:
- altering the cheque (payee/amount) without appropriate authority
- theft of legitimate cheques and subsequent alteration or conversion
- duplication or counterfeiting of cheques
- the use of false invoices to solicit legitimate cheques
- depositing a cheque into a third party account without authority
- depositing a cheque for payment knowing that insufficient funds are in the account to cover the deposited cheque.
Cheque fraud can be conducted by internal and external parties to your accounts.
How to protect yourself from cheque fraud
Reconcile your account
- You are required to reconcile your accounts promptly and regularly. For business accounts, ensure independent overview by the appropriate level of management.
- If you hold business accounts, consider opening a separate account specifically for higher value cheques, so they can be easily monitored.
- Ensure that any spoiled cheques are destroyed.
- For business accounts, separate the cheque writing/electronic payments and account reconciliation functions.
Signing of cheques
- Never sign blank cheques, only sign cheques after all details have been completed.
- Limit the number of signatures to your account to ensure control.
- Regularly review the account authorities.
- Consider implementing a 'two to sign' policy.
- Ensure that your signature is not affixed to documents that can be accessed by the general public.
- Keep all cheques secure when not in use to deter theft.
- Cheques must be completed in a way that deters fraudulent alteration.
- Ensure that a strong bold and consistent font is used.
- Leave no gaps in the completion of the payee name, amount in words and in figures.
- Avoid use of acronyms for payee names, eg. ATO.
- If completed in ink, use permanent ballpoint or ink (preferably black).
Ordering and maintaining cheques
- If cheques are lost or stolen contact ANZ immediately and ask them to load a 'Stop Payment'.
- Notify ANZ if you have not received an ordered cheque book.
- Ensure that any invoices are valid before payment.
- Mark all invoices as paid once payment is made.
- Consider using electronic means of payment (if possible) for high value payments.
Protection of cheques
- Avoid sending high value cheques in the mail.
- Avoid sending cheques in window fronted envelopes.
- Ensure that your mailbox is secure to protect your inward cheques.
- Avoid providing your banking details to external parties.
What to do if you suspect that you are a victim of cheque fraud
If you suspect that you are a victim of cheque fraud or any other type of fraud, or if you detect an irregularity in your account reconciliation, you must contact ANZ immediately.
For enquiries or further information please call General Enquiries and ANZ Phone Banking
Product disclosure statements
It is important that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities with respect to your accounts. Further information can be found in the relevant Product Disclosure Statement. You can access these by using the below link:
Australian Payments Clearing Association Limited (APCA):
The Australian Payments Clearing Association Limited has prepared a brochure outlining how you can protect yourself from cheque fraud.
You can access this by using the below link: