Covid-19 has certainly seen a significant rise in the level of digital theft and online scams, so it’s important to understand the warning signs, and how you can ensure that you and your family are protected from key scams when it comes to getting a loan.
A loan scam can take many forms, from someone stating that they are calling from or contacting you from a legitimate lender or organisation when they in fact don’t, or they might be calling you to offer you something that in fact doesn’t really exist. They may be suggesting that they can get you interest rates that sound too good to be true, that you’re already approved for a loan even though you haven’t submitted an application, or even in some cases offering you tax benefits.
How can you identify a loan scam?
When it comes to potential loan scams, it’s important to understand the common warning signs. Outlined below are some of the common signs of a scam that we’ve come across:
- The scammer can’t provide you any details or information about their Australian Credit License (ACL) information, or make claims to suggest that they don’t need one.
- They pressure you to act quickly as the deal won’t be around for long.
- They request that you send money somewhere quickly to be eligible for the deal.
- They state that they’re representing a reputable bank or financial institution, but can’t provide you with any proof.
- You can’t find any information on the ASIC register website to confirm their license details.
- They contact you constantly to make quick decisions.
- Their marketing material, email domain, or other collateral is full of grammatical and spelling mistakes.
How can you protect yourself from scams?
It’s more important than ever to ensure that you’re constantly protected against scams as much as you can be. Scammers are and will continue, getting more sophisticated in their efforts to separate you from your money. Outlined below are our tips to protect you and your loved ones from common scams.
- Ensure you’re using strong passwords
Utilising very strong passwords for your online activity is a sensible idea, and this doesn’t just mean a combination of capital and lower case letters for your surname or the name of your pet. Consider using a password management tool such as 1Password or OKTA to generate and store strong passwords for you.
- Use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) where possible
If the website or online service offers the option to use two-factor authentication, meaning that to access the system you need not only your password but also a one-time pin from your phone or fingerprint, ensure that you take up the offer. This makes it more difficult for scammers to access your information.
- Don’t use public WIFI networks for sensitive online activities
Don’t use public WIFI networks to access your online banking or enter your credit card details. Even avoid logging into your social media accounts where possible, and ensure that your settings are such that you’re alerted to any logins that don’t match your usual activity.
- Buy a shredder
While most of our secure information is sent digitally these days, there are still many letters from banks and financial institutions, and other organisations, that contain your sensitive information. Ensure that instead of simply throwing these into the bin that you shred them. It’s also a good idea to get a shredder that will allow you to destroy credit or bank cards that you’re not using.
- Check that the organisation is licensed
If you’re being approached by someone or an organisation claiming to be a registered mortgage broker or lender, ask for their licensee details, check out the ASIC website, and ensure that they are in fact licensed. You can easily search the online registers to confirm these details, and taking a few extra minutes might just save you a fortune. A registered mortgage broker should always provide you with a copy of their Credit Guide, so if they haven’t, ensure that you ask for one, and if they resist or hesitate, consider this to be a red flag.
How can you report a scam?
If you feel that you’ve been scammed, or approached by someone who is a potential scammer, it may be wise to consider reporting it to the relevant authorities to avoid the risk of others falling for the trap. You may wish to report it to any of the following:
- If they say they’re representing your bank or financial institution, consider reporting it directly to them.
- Consider reporting it to the local police on 131 444
- Report it to Scamwatch so that others can be warned
- If they say they’re a mortgage broker or lender, and you believe they’re not, consider also reporting it directly to ASIC.
As always, remain vigilant while online, and ensure that you’re dealing with a reputable, licensed, and registered organisation when it comes to your personal finances. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our team at Loansuite.
LoanSuite Pty Ltd is your lending partner for all of your home loan, investment property, business and commercial financing needs. With our wide range of lending solutions, expertise in financial planning and investment strategies, and extensive experience in working with both Australian residents and Australian expats, we are your partners for your lending needs.
Book an obligation-free, complimentary consultation here today.
LoanSuite Pty Ltd is an Authorised Credit Representative (Credit Representative Number – 494608) of My Local Broker (Australian Credit License – 481374). Important Disclaimer: Your complete financial situation will need to be assessed before acceptance of any proposal or product.