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Warning over new $500,000 scam

Aussies are being warned over the rise in digital wallet scams, with one bank reporting almost $500,000 in losses.

Apple wallet. Digital wallet scams.
Digital wallet scams are on the rise, one Aussie bank has warned. (Source: Getty)

More Aussies are shifting to storing and managing their cash in digital wallets, and scammers are catching on.

Digital wallet usage has doubled in the past three years, according to the Australian Banking Association, up from 19 per cent in 2019 to 38 per cent in 2022.

Now, Aussie bank BOQ said it had seen a spike in digital wallet scams, with the bank reporting almost $500,000 in customer losses over the past year.

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Scammers are impersonating banks and service providers, such as Australia Post or Linkt, and commonly targeting people via SMS.

The scammers will tell the victim their payment information needs to be updated, that they have unpaid tolls, an outstanding payment for a package delivery or their account has been suspended due a failed payment.

They will then prompt the victim to click on a link and enter their card information. To complete the digital wallet registration, a verification code will be sent via SMS to the victim.

Once the scammer has this code, they can then successfully register the victim’s card to their own digital wallet and make a purchase.

BOQ scam examples
Here are some examples of the scam text messages. (Source: BOQ)

‘Remain vigilant’

BOQ customer advocate Ben Griffin urged Aussies to “remain vigilant” to the emerging scam.

“It’s a prime example of scammers' ability to keep evolving their tactics to take advantage of victims,” Griffin said.

“Be wary of unexpected phone calls and SMS messages and never click on links or provide sensitive information. This includes sharing verification codes, such as one-time passwords, even to someone you believe may be from the service provider.”

If you are unsure, Griffin said to end the interaction immediately and contact the service provider directly using a verified phone number or trusted channel.

“Taking extra precaution is critical when it comes to your bank and account details,” he said.

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