Westpac customers are currently being targeted by two separate phishing email scams attempting to steal their banking account details.

The bank posted a warning on its website this week alerting its customers to two scams trying to get them to unwittingly hand over their banking details.

One phishing email has the subject line, “Important Message About Your Online Banking”, and looks to capitalise on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Important email from Westpac,” the scam email reads. “For the safety of our customers due to the recent COVID-19 virus, all customers are required to review and update their personal details. You cannot use your account until this process is complete.”

The email then provides a link to a fake phishing site prompting users to enter their banking details.
Westpac warned anyone who has received this email to not click any of the links and delete it.

“This email advises you need to verify your identity due to safety and security requirements,” Westpac said. “Both links will take you to a phishing website which may ask for personal information such as online banking login details and / or credit card details.

“Do not click the links in this email or enter your personal information. Westpac will never ask you to click a link to sign into your online banking. When receiving genuine communications, we will always ask you to sign in securely by typing westpac.com.au into your browser or using the Westpac mobile banking app.”

There is also a second scam email being sent to Westpac customers, with the subject line: “Your Westpac Banking services has been disabled.” This email also linked to phishing sites that attempted to steal personal information from users.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also issued an alert about the scam through its ScamWatch platform, urging anyone who receives such emails to delete them immediately.

Last month, ScamWatch revealed that Australians lost over $634 million to online scams last year, with more than 350,000 reports made to the ACCC.

The Westpac-themed phishing emails are the latest in a long line of scams where hackers are looking to take advantage of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Earlier this week, tech giant Microsoft announced it had taken legal action to shut down a sophisticated global fraud scheme which looked to trick high-level business executives into wiring money to hackers using the COVID-19 pandemic themes.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has also reported a large uptick in COVID-19-themed scams, with two Australians per day falling victim to a malicious scheme online just in April.

The ACSC reported there had been a “significant increase in Australians being targeted with COVID-19-themed scams, fraud attempts and deceptive email schemes”, with more than 95 reports of cybercrimes in just one month earlier this year.

“Cybercrime actors are pivoting their online criminal methods to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the ACSC said in an alert in April.

“These scams have continued to increase over the past month and the ACSC strongly encourages organisations and individuals to remain alert and follow advice on how to protect yourself and your business.”