“No, mate, I’m not going to do it until I speak to somebody from NAB.”

National Australia Bank

“No, mate, I’m not going to do it until I speak to somebody from NAB that I actually call.”

This is the moment a scam savvy customer stopped a criminal in his tracks.

NAB customer Ray from NSW recognised the red flags of a scammer trying to impersonate the bank who was encouraging him to click a link in a text message.

“He sent me a text message with a link, and he wanted me to open the text,” Ray said.

“I said to him, ‘no, I’m not going to open this text until I get confirmation from NAB’ because I wasn’t just going to open a random text from someone calling off a private number.

“It was a man with a British accent. He said everything you expect NAB would say but he called me off a private number. He had an excuse for that. He had an excuse for everything.”

Question everything

The criminal knew Ray’s personal details and said there had been an attempted transaction on his account from New Zealand. The criminal also said he had sent Ray a text message that came from ‘NAB’.

Ray’s partner Kathleen indicated she thought the call might be a scam, so Ray put the phone on speaker and Kathleen recorded the end of the conversation.

When Ray resisted the criminal’s push to click the link inside the text message, the criminal swore at him before hanging up.

“I told him I wasn’t going to open the text and he was getting irritated. When he started getting irritated, I knew this guy was a scammer,” Ray said.

Ray was right

NAB Executive, Group Investigations Chris Sheehan said the recording highlighted common red flags Australians should watch out for to protect themselves from scams.

“Ray did the right thing. NAB will never call you and ask you to share your one-time PIN, transfer money to another account to keep it safe, give us remote access to your devices or provide personal information like your driver’s licence details,” Mr Sheehan, who is also a former Australian Federal Police executive, said.

Recording of Ray’s conversation with the scammer

“Criminals are masters at being insistent and pushy to create a sense of fear or urgency. Their goal is to pressure the person to make the payment themselves or share personal details, such as log in details or one-time passcodes.

“If you aren’t sure if it is NAB calling you, hang up and call the bank yourself using the number on the back of your card or via searching it on our public website.”

Making it harder for criminals

Mr Sheehan said NAB had a bank-wide strategy to reduce the impact of scams, which are a global epidemic and cost Australians more than $3 billion in 2022.

“While phone phishing remains an issue, we have seen a 77% reduction in cases when comparing compare October to December 2023 to October to December 2022,” he said.

“A number of initiatives have contributed to the reduction.

“We worked with telecommunications providers to put protections in place to make it harder for criminals to impersonate bank phone numbers and infiltrate legitimate text message threads.

“This means that scam calls may appear as an unknown number or no caller ID, like in Ray’s case, whereas previously they might have appeared to come from a legitimate bank number.

“NAB has also removed links from text messages we send customers to make it easier to identify when a message is legitimate. Text messages are the biggest front door to phishing scams.

“We are working hard every day to reduce the impact of scams. We can, and will, do more.”

The red flags of an impersonation scam

  • Unexpected contact – You are called, emailed, or get a text message from someone claiming to be from a well-known and reputation business, organisation, or government department.
  • Urgency and action – You are asked to do something quickly like sharing a one-time pin code or log in details, transferring money to another account, giving the person access to your device, downloading an app or software.
  • Reeling off personal information – The person may appear legitimate because they know your name and other personal details like the last four digits on a debit or credit card. This information may have been obtained fraudulently. For example, through a data breach.

Stay up to date with the latest scams and fraud advice available on NAB’s security hub.

/Public Release. View in full here.