Scams: be alert to the red flags

  • Scams

Scams can happen to anyone. Banks like NAB have a crucial role to play helping customers to bank as safely as possible and identify red flags.

  • 22.09.2023
  • Time to read 1 min read


Scams can happen to anyone

In 2022 Australians lost $3.1 billion to scammers.

From ‘Hi mum’ text messages, to PayID or tax-time scams, most scams involve some form of online payment, and many are linked to fake investment advertising on social media platforms or criminals exploiting telecommunications services.

Scammers do not discriminate in who they target – small business owners, mums and dads, sporting professionals – lives can change in a split-second.


A footballer’s story  

AFL footballer and NAB customer Jacob Weitering lost his life savings to a sophisticated phone scam. It all started with a simple text message.

“They went through the suspicious transaction and played on my emotions a little bit. It was perfect. The text, the caller ID, the blocking of the suspicious transaction.”

NAB CEO Ross McEwan said Jacob’s story highlighted that scams can happen to anyone.

“Scammers are sophisticated criminals who are determined to steal your money and will not stop trying,” Mr McEwan said.

Read Jacob’s full story.

Think before you click. Pause before you pay.

When NAB customer and Canberra grandmother Mary* realised she had been scammed, she called NAB.

“I got a text that I thought was from my daughter, saying she dropped her phone down the toilet and needed a bill to be paid, and I should have rung her to make sure,” Mary said.

She transferred $1970.53 straight away.

NAB Fraud expert Dale Ernesti was there to listen and take action.  Dale told Mary that scammers often looked for “breadcrumbs and latch on to it.”

Mary was one of the lucky ones – she got her money back. Read Mary’s full story and listen to her call to NAB below.

NAB Executive Group Investigations and Fraud, Chris Sheehan, said Mary’s story was powerful listening.

“As Dale explains in the call with Mary, never feel pressured to make a payment. Scammers often create a sense of urgency and pressure, playing on people’s emotions.”

To help people stay safe online, NAB launched a new education and awareness campaign to help Australians – young and old – See Through Scams.



Education is the best defence

Alongside action, the best defence against scams is Australians who are curious and educated.

Since October 2022, NAB has issued more than nine million emails to personal customers and 500,000 emails to business customers containing scam education.

NAB offers free online security webinars for personal and business customers as well as the community.  The one-hour session covers the latest scams and cyber security trends and advice about how to protect yourself.

Most importantly, contact your bank immediately if you’ve been scammed.

Tackling scammers head-on

Mr Sheehan said banks like NAB have a crucial role to play helping customers to bank as safely as possible.

“In FY22 we invested just under $1.4 billion back into the bank. Fifty-five per cent of that spend went towards a range of areas, including improving our financial crime detection and cyber security capabilities,” he said.

“We have a comprehensive, bank wide strategy including around 60 initiatives either completed or underway to combat fraud and scams. But we can and will do more.”



In an Australian banking first, NAB has stopped the use of links in unexpected texts to customers in a major crack down to reduce the impact of scams and fraud.

It follows NAB’s actions to stop criminals infiltrating phone numbers and spoofing scams by working together with telecommunications providers. The initiative had immediate impact and has seen a 29% reduction in reports of NAB-branded spoofing scams between January and May this year.

NAB also introduced payment prompts to digital banking to encourage customers to pause before they pay.

A woman's hands holding an iPhone

NAB offers free security education webinars to all Australians.

Head to and sign-up for one today.

Payments in the NAB app on iOS and Android that feature offensive words and phrases won’t be processed under the increased measures.

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Quick links

Business Research and Insights

For more business news and analysis, visit NAB’s Business Research and Insights .

NAB Security Podcast

For more insights about cyber security and fraud, and practical tips on how to stay safe, listen in to NAB’s Security Podcast series.

NAB tech blog

For more insights about technology and the digital developments enabling change for customers, visit the NAB tech blog on Medium.