Bendigo Bank’s online safety classes swamped by customers keen to outsmart scammers
Over a thousand Bendigo Bank customers, and members from dozens of different community groups are now better equipped to navigate digital banking and better protect themselves online after attending the Bank’s popular Banking Safely Online sessions since they were launched in September 2023.
The face-to-face digital literacy education program has attracted customers in droves, with 109 Banking Safely Online Sessions held across the country in only four months, and another 89 sessions slated for the months ahead.
In a sign of its popularity, one Community Bank in New South Wales has run 16 sessions with another four to be held across February and March.
In a meaningful and practical push to help its 2.4 million customers safely navigate digital banking, the unique sessions have been held at local branches, rotary clubs, football clubs, fishing clubs and other community get-togethers.
Bendigo Bank’s Banking Safely Online Sessions enable one-on-one connections between the Bank and its customers to help grow digital capability, confidence, and security.
The 30-minute, standardised classes highlight the benefits and importance of getting digitally connected, staying safe and recognising and preventing scams and fraud, and are delivered by the Bank’s experienced people.
Head of Fraud Prevention at Bendigo Bank, Jason Gordon, says the sessions have been effective in educating and empowering customers facing a digital divide.
“The popularity of these sessions proves just how important the hands-on approach is for many of our customers,” Mr Gordon said.
“We all know about the growing prevalence of financial crime, and we understand fraud and scams are quite confronting, which is why we’ve seen so many people want to better educate themselves about how they can stay safe while online.”
“We want all our customers to feel supported and safe online, and these sessions are specifically designed to make new and existing digital banking users comfortable and confident.”
“I urge any community groups or customers out there to reach out to their local branch and express their interest in attending one of these sessions soon in the future. The more people we can empower, the better,” Mr Gordon said.
Feedback from the sessions so far has been overwhelmingly positive with attendees from the Mitchel Street Branch session in Bendigo saying the session was ‘very appropriate and informative,’ and that it has taught them to ‘always check before you click.’ Many of the attendees also said they would recommend the session to friends, family, and other community groups they participate in.
Other feedback has included participants leaving the sessions more educated, with many attending a branch afterwards with recent scams they had received but due to the sessions knew not to click onto them.
General Manager of Digital Banking at the Bank, Nick Carter said the sessions went beyond helping customers fight scams and fraud, they also helped boost the confidence of customers to make simple transactions online.
“We know that one in four Australians are digitally excluded with older people, people with disability, low-income families and First Nations people at higher risk, not to mention those living in remote and regional areas,” Mr Carter said.
“While these sessions help our customers to stay safe online, they also help build confidence using digital applications, helping us bridge the digital divide.”
Rotary Clubs, sporting associations, social and community groups can contact their local Bendigo Bank and enquire about a Banking Safely Online education session for their members.
This approach joins a host of operational measures employed by Bendigo Bank against cyber and financial crime, including:
- multi-factor authentication
- blocking high risk cryptocurrency transactions
- significantly increasing the size of its fraud prevention and response team
- the removal of all links in SMS messages from the Bank
- a dedicated security team constantly monitoring for suspicious activity
- unusual account activity detection.
Bendigo Bank recommends stopping scammers in their tracks by following Scamwatch’s advice:
STOP – Don’t give money or personal information to anyone if unsure.
Scammers will offer to help you or ask you to verify who you are. They will pretend to be from organisations you know and trust like Services Australia, police, government, or a fraud service.
THINK – Ask yourself could the message or call be fake?
Never click a link in a message. Only contact us, businesses or government using contact information from their official website or through their secure apps. If you’re not sure, say no, hang up or delete.
PROTECT – Act quickly if something feels wrong.
If you notice unusual activity or if a scammer gets your money or information, visit bendigobank.com.au/security to report it and get support.