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Top Tips: How to avoid scammers

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The simple steps consumers can take to avoid being scammed by fraudsters

Australia’s customer owned banking institutions are warning consumers to be on the lookout for suspicious text messages, emails and requests for payments in the wake of a PayID breach.

More than 100,000 customer PayIDs were compromised in the breach after scammers managed to breach one of the ‘Big Four’s’ PayID security structures. By using compromised accounts, the scammers were able to randomly test mobile numbers to find genuine PayID accounts and the names of the account owners. The process resulted in approximately 100,000 PayID credentials being revealed to criminal syndicates.

Top Tips to Avoid Phishing

  1. Always know who you are dealing with. Avoid responding to unsolicited and unexpected contact.
  2. Don’t provide your banking details to anyone. Your banking institution will never ask for your contact details over SMS or email.
  3. Never click on URLs or open attachments in suspicious emails.
  4. Just because your name is in the SMS or email, doesn’t mean it is contact from your bank. Always double check directly with your banking institution.
  5. Always go to online banking platforms directly, don’t use links sent in messages.

Customer Owned Banking Senior Advisor Financial Crimes Brett Peacock has recommended customers be on the lookout for unexpected contact and to always check with their bank directly. “With account owner’s name and mobile phone number at their disposal, scammers will start to target those individuals with phishing messages, emails and requests for payment. “Phishing messages will seek your personal ID information, banking logons or it may contain malware that infects your device,” explained Mr Peacock.

Mr Peacock advised customers to be on the lookout for unexpected or unusual contact. “If you receive an unsolicited and unexpected request for information, you should contact your financial institution directly to clarify whether it is real or not. “Don’t click on the links or attachments scammers might send you. These links often contain malware that allows scammers to access app passwords, internet banking logins and other personal information.” Mr Peacock said scammers had a few tricks up their sleeves to get people to provide their data.

“Scammers will try and make a message or email look like it came from your financial institution, so you should always second guess whether an email is real or not. “Be particularly aware of messages or emails that say you have won a prize and ask you to click a link to collect your prize. It’s also important to be on the lookout for scams threatening you if you don’t do something,” warned Mr Peacock.

COBA is urging customers who think they may have received a fraudulent message to get in contact with their banking institution before clicking on links or opening attachments.


Vulnerable consumers lose record amounts to scammers.

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Australians love technology. We are spending more time online shopping, entering our personal details and accessing the internet on our devices. Some of us even have an auto-memory software in place in case we forget our passwords.

Anybody using the internet and electronic devices needs to be aware of the increasing threat of scammers. Recently, scammers have been impersonating your favourite businesses or even the police and the Australian Taxation Office. They want to gain access to your computer and steal money or banking information.

Australians who are older, Indigenous or have disability reported record losses in 2018 according to the ACCC's annual Targeting Scams report released last week. Older Australians looking to grow their nest eggs but who instead get caught up in investment scams reported losses of $7.6 million, and those misled through fake relationships reported losses of $5.8 million to dating and romance scams.

“Scammers will start with a cold call to their victim promising low-risk investments for high returns. They may spend months grooming their victims and once a victim invests, they’re quickly convinced to put more and more money in. As soon as the victim tries to cash in on their investment, the scammer quickly disappears,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

You can avoid becoming a victim of scammers by knowing how to protect your information and your devices. Learning more on the scams that are being used can empower you to avoid being caught. Some of the scams are as follows:

  • Hoax messages: emails, text messages or internet pop ups that direct you to fake websites which prompt you to reveal personal information.
  • Malware: software that can monitor where you go online and record your keystrokes which means it can record your confidential passwords, logins and other personal information.
  • Fake phone surveys:  contact you and ask questions to try and trick you into revealing personal information.
  • Website scams: targeting many people by running a scam that sounds “too good to be true”.
  • Phone porting: switching your phone to another provider without permission to gain access to your calls and text messages.

Please note:  The Bank will:

  • Never ask for your Internet Banking login details or credit card details via phone or email
  • Never use email to send you a link to an Internet Banking login page
  • Never ask you to communicate your passwords to us in any form


Security tips

There are some good practices and simple actions that may reduce personal information being compromised.

  • Lock it – set a password on your device so that no one else can use or view the information. Also store your device in a secure location.
  • Contact your bank if you lose your phone or tablet – call your bank immediately to tell staff about the loss and provide your new number.
  • Be careful what you send via text message – never send personal information via message.
  • Only use official internet banking apps – those from your bank.
  • Install and keep up to date anti-virus and firewall software purchased from trusted suppliers.
  • Protect your passwords – keep your PIN and passwords confidential. Avoid using the same password for multiple websites. If your banking app allows a PIN, make sure it’s different than the one you use to unlock your mobile device. Make sure your password or code is hard for others to guess but easy for you to remember.
  • Read privacy policies – before you provide personal information to any website, understand how your information will be used and how long it will be retained. To view Bankstown City Unity Bank’s privacy policy click here
  • Be wary of free downloads, programs, software or screensavers – sometimes malware and spyware can be hidden in free offers.
  • Check your bank statements – contact your bank if you find any unusual or suspicious transactions.
  • Always log out of internet banking.

Unfortunately, scammers are becoming more sophisticated and see opportunities whenever money is involved, and they will always seek new ways to steal and commit fraud. At Bankstown City Unity Bank, rest assured that your financial wellbeing is always our top priority along with the security and safety of your banking. These tips are here to help you build a better defence against scammers.

Don’t forget to check out for more tips as they become available.



Our first technology hub in Bankstown

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Bankstown City Unity Bank (BCUB) has officially opened its second branch in the new Flinders Centre. It is one of the first of its kind in the Canterbury-Bankstown area.

BCUB at Flinders Centre is a cashless branch and has a new banking experience where, while customers can learn more about personal, home or commercial lending, the local community can also discover and explore some of the latest interactive digital devices accessible to everyone at the branch. 

BCUB have made sure that this branch is designed to be a comfortable space, where anyone can feel free to talk to one of our Relationship Managers to discuss your finances, get banking updates and play with the interactive digital tools located around the technology hub.  

“Our driving motivation was to give back to the community of Canterbury-Bankstown by creating more access to resources, inspiration and innovation while creating a relaxing banking experience,” says Mark Genovese, Chief Executive Officer of Bankstown City Unity Bank.

This new branch also gives BCUB Members a second fully functional cashless branch in the Canterbury-Bankstown area. It features an ATM that is fee-free to BCUB Members and is accessible after hours through the Bankstown Sports Club.   

Located at 25 Restwell Street in the heart of the Bankstown CBD, the BCUB Flinders Centre branch is equipped with the latest digital tools such as:

  • A 3D printer that is open and available for everyone to use
  • Meeting booths for business and social catch-ups
  • Virtual Reality Goggles
  • Latest smartphones, tablets, PC and MAC desktop computers
  • Microsoft Surface Studio
  • And many more things to come!

Moving House Guide

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Some people would consider moving house a nightmare and a half. From booking removalists to decluttering, we know these tasks can cause unnecessary stress to any new home owner. That’s why we have come up with some easy ways to keep your stress levels down and move in no time.

Preparation is key!

To prepare for M day (moving day), a lot of time is needed. If unprepared and unorganised, M day can easily turn into D day (Dooms day). So preparation is key when moving homes, you can start of by assessing what will be moving with you to your new home and what will be thrown in the skip or sold. This is an important step before considering a removal company because it will help you understand how much furniture you will be moving. Do you really want the old lounge chair that the cat destroyed? No, throw it in the skip. By categorising items into ‘Keep’, ‘Sell’, ‘Donate’ and ‘Skip’, you could potentially save yourself some money in moving costs.           

Update everything

Updating your contact details is a crucial part of moving. Most organisations allow you to update your mailing address online or over the phone. Don’t forget to have your address changed on your driver’s licence as well as on the electoral roll. You can also organise mail redirection to your new address, so you don’t miss out on any important letters.

Electricity and gas

Organising your electricity and gas before you move in will prevent cold showers and no power. This task should normally be organised one week before M day. During this time arrangements should also be made for connecting and disconnecting of all other services with your utility providers such as phone, internet, water and pay TV.    

Mr fluffy is a priority!

If you think moving houses is a nightmare and a half, your pets are probably stressed out too. Plan ahead and organise for a family member or friend to look after them while you make the move. Once settled you can introduce them into their new home with no stress or injuries to your pets. 

M Day

Ok so you have followed all our preparation steps, now it’s moving day. Be prepared for a long day ahead, so snacks are always good to have. To keep your family volunteers and moving team happy, snacks such as fruit, muesli bars, small packet chips, crackers and chocolates will keep hungry bellies at bay. Also staying hydrated by having water bottles on hand will help the day run smoothly.

We hope these moving preparation tips make your M day as stress free as possible.  



Merger of Unity Bank and G&C Mutual Bank

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On behalf of our respective Boards, we are very pleased to announce that G&C Mutual Bank (G&C) and Unity Bank (Unity) will be joining forces next year. G&C and Unity have a long history of working together cooperatively and sharing resources to build a stronger and more sustainable mutual banking alternative. A merger between our two organisations will deliver further benefits to members, while harnessing our shared values and our absolute commitment to providing fair, ethical and competitively-priced banking services.

After several months of confidential discussions, the Boards of Unity and G&C have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which sets out an agreed timetable under which the two organisations plan to merge next year. The merger provides an exciting opportunity to combine the strengths and proud histories of the two organisations and to offer improved products and services to our combined membership base.

The merger will create one of Australia's largest nationally-operating mutual banks with projected assets as at the merger date of around $2.5 billion, a network of 35 branches and a full suite of digital payment services (including real time Osko payment facilities). The increased scale and cost synergies from the merger will allow the merged organisation to fund further innovative products and community support initiatves.

The merger is great news for Unity and G&C staff, as all employees will be offered a role in the merged organisation and will have the added benefit of improved career and development opportunities.

Further details about the merger and the implementation timetable will be communicated to members over the coming months. Key points to note are summarised in the attached Q&A and include:

  • Subject to the required regulatory and member approvals, we anticipate completing the merger by September next year.
  • The Board of the merged organisation will comprise an equal number of Directors from the Unity Board and the G&C Board.
  • All trading names currently used by G&C and Unity will be retained in the period immediately following the merger, with the intention that Unity Bank will become, over time, the merged organisation's predominant trading name.
  • There will be no change to the pricing or features of products held prior to the merger by G&C and Unity members.

Mick Doleman
Board Chair, Unity Bank

Julian Kennelly
Board Chair, G&C Mutual Bank

About Unity Bank
Unity Bank commenced operations in 1970 as Waterside Workers' of Australia Credit Union to serve maritime workers and their famiilies, and over the last 10 years has further evolved merging with 8 other credit unions with a mixture of community and industrial members. It currently has 40,000 Members with an asset base of $1.2 billion and 28 branches across Australia. Unity has developed meaningful partnerships with Industry Super Funds and regionally based Local Councils and Universities that have led to several innovations including Australia's first experimental technology hub based in Bathurst.

About G&C Mutual Bank
G&C Mutual Bank was established 60 years ago and has since grown to be one of Australia's strongest member-owned financial institutions. From its humble origins as the Public Works Department Credit Union servicing public sector employees, G&C's business has evolved through the course of 18 mergers and several name changes. G&C now provides a comprehensive and award-winning range of financial services throughout metropolitan and regional markets. Following a lengthy member consultation process, G&C commenced trading as G&C Mutual Bank in December 2014.



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