Spammers are currently flooding everyone's In Boxes with emails that appear to be coming from the Commonwealth Bank requesting that you click a link to help them in their scheduled software upgrade.
When you click the link, it takes you to another official-looking page asking you to type in your client number, password, email address, and answers to two security questions.
As ridiculous as this might sound, many people trust their bank, and this does appear to all intents and purposes to come from the bank. Naturally, as soon as you fill in your details, scammers will access your bank account and empty it as fast as you can.
The funny thing is that in order to make this fake page look as close to the real bank sign-in page as possible, it has several links to the real Commonwealth Bank on it including one link warning about Hoax emails. Click on that link and you go to the Commonwealth Bank's page alerting you about the very scam you may well have just participated in! I guess you can't say the scammers didn't give you fair warning!
My experience with the Commonwealth Bank the other day was of a very different nature.
I'm sure most people are familiar with the deposit envelopes the bank provides, where you pop your deposit slip and cheques inside and drop them into a quick deposit box inside the bank. These envelopes clearly say on the outside DO NOT POST. I've always wondered what would happen if you did accidentally post one.
Now I know...
After going to the bank with some letters, stopping at a post box along the way and then discovering I know held a letter and no longer had my deposit envelope... it was pretty clear that I had finally done the inevitable and posted my DO NOT POST deposit slip. I knew this was not the first time anyone had ever done this so I went into the Commonwealth Bank to ask what was the standard procedure.
Unfortunately the chap at the enquiry desk had no idea what I was talking about. He kept asking me for my keycard details and I kept asking him, "What happens to deposit envelopes that are accidentally posted." We were at an impasse until I finally answered his question and said "I'm actually a VTU (Victorian Teacher's Credit Union) customer, I deposit my cheques through the Commonwealth Bank and they pass them on to VTU." He replied "I'm afraid that if you are a VTU customer, what happens is that when you deposit your cheques we pass them on to the VTU." I explained that I knew that already, and he told me I'd have to address my enquiry to the VTU.
Once again, I tried to ask my simple question and he got a superior over who again asked me for my keycard details, then told me I'd have to speak to the VTU they could not help me.
I headed off in search for the Post Office.
As I couldn't find them anywhere I called them on the phone and, after clarifying with the talking computer that I did not want to speak to 'Australia Post Enquiries' a live human spoke to me and asked "Did you want Australia Post Glen Waverley?" "Yes thankyou" I replied, and he gave me the number for Australia Post Enquiries.
After waiting on hold for 10 minutes I finally spoke to another live human who listened to my story, reassured me that this happens a lot, and explained my options.
- I could pay $21 and a postal worker would come to the letter box with a manager to supervise as he would sort through the letters, retrieve mine, and hand it over to me. This service was not guaranteed and the mail may already have been collected from that Post Box.
- I could wait, the envelope would end up in the Dead Letter Office in about two days, then it would be handed on to the Commonwealth Bank around two to three weeks later, and then the Bank would decide what to do with it.
As it was now late in the day, I was pretty sure option 1 was out because the box had probably been emptied by now, and after my experience with Bill and Ben at the bank's enquiry counter I was pretty sure option 2 was a guarantee I'd never see the cheque again.
I called the person who gave me the cheque, they cancelled it and sent me out a new one instead.
So if you've ever wondered what might happen if you accidentally posted one of those pesky little deposit envelopes... now you know!