On the morning of Thursday, 24 May, the ABA’s executive director Christine Cupitt issued an alert that “unscrupulous, unsolicited” scammers are posing as the banking association, and that the number of scams identified has risen at a “concerning” rate.
“The ABA, or any member bank, will never call members of the public seeking information about their personal bank accounts or security information,” Ms Cupitt said.
“If you think you’ve given your personal information to a scammer we urge you to urgently contact your financial institution.
“It’s vitally important that Australians keep their financial identity safe by following important measures such as not giving out your PIN, deleting spam emails, keeping anti-virus software up-to-date and not responding to requests from unknown phone numbers.”
However the fact that this warning was issued under a media embargo — a request to refrain from publication until a particular date or time, in this case until 12.01am on Friday, 25 May — is indicative of the same issues currently the subject of investigation by the banking royal commission.
That is, that banks (and in this case, their association) are more interested in PR than in actually assisting the financial welfare of their clients.
Indeed, CBA was accused of exactly that when a senior banker was found to have postponed the reporting of a systemic fault that double-charged thousands of business customers until after a parliamentary enquiry so as to avoid the additional scrutiny.
When questioned by My Business’ sister publication Nest Egg, a spokesperson for the ABA claimed the move was to work around scheduled radio interviews on the subject.