Your browser is out of date. From Thu 28 April 2022, the Great Southern Bank website will not support your current browser, and you may have a degraded experience or be unable to connect. Update your browser to secure your online experience.


How To Identify A Phishing Email

21 March 2024
• 3 minute read
Share article on Facebook Tweet this article email this article to a friend

How to spot a phishing email

Scams are on the rise. Each year, a record number of Australians are affected. In fact, $77 million was lost last year to just scam emails alone.

If you’ve ever received an email asking you to urgently pay a fine, unlock or verify your account, there’s every chance it was a phishing scam.

In this article, we’ll explain what a phishing scam is, how to identify them and how best to protect yourself.

What is a phishing email?

‘Phishing’, as the name suggests, refers to the use of lures by cyber criminals to ‘fish’ sensitive information from you. They send you fraudulent emails often pretending to be from a well-known company to trick you into sharing such things as your account details, passwords, mobile and credit card numbers.

Appearing to be from a trusted source, phishing emails will almost always include a sense of urgency, like asking you to unlock or verify an account to keep it safe, log in to your banking or make an immediate payment to avoid a fine.

They may also take the form of fake competitions, surveys, bills and postal notifications too.

Phishing scam messages are mostly received by email, but they can also come via SMS text. This is known as ‘Smishing’.

How to identify phishing emails

Phishing emails are purposefully designed to trick you in to giving up your personal information. So, when something seems so legit, how are you to know it’s not?

The best defence against phishing is awareness and knowing what to look for.

Here are some tell-tale signs the message you received is a phishing scam:

  • Sender’s address - If the email claims to be from a trusted source, like us, but is in fact sent from another domain like, it's a scam. Always check the domain name; watch out for very subtle misspellings, or numbers replacing letters.
  • Spelling and poor grammar - This can make spotting scams easy, but not always. As scams continue to become more sophisticated, so too does their attention to detail, i.e. spelling.
  • Asking for your passwords - No one should ever ask you for your passwords, especially not your bank – we never will!
  • Urgent call to actions - Phishing emails will often create a sense of urgency, encouraging you to click a link or download an attachment to avoid a problem. Remain sceptical – always read the email carefully before taking any action.
  • Generic greetings and sign offs - These emails are sent out to hundreds of people at once. Because of this, look out for generic greetings and sign-offs – most legitimate emails, especially from your bank will address you by name.
  • Suspicious links or unexpected attachments - If you receive an email or Teams message with a suspicious link or attachment, don’t click on it. Instead, hover over the link with your mouse to see the actual web address – it may be trying to send you to a fake website.

What to do if you receive a suspicious email

If you suspect an email or text message, don’t click on any links or open attachments, and don't respond to requests for information – even if they claim it’s urgent.

Received a suspicious email or text message pretending to be from us? Report it immediately to or by calling us on 133 282.

If you ever suspect your security has been compromised, take control by changing your passwords and PINs straight away. As a preventative measure, we recommend that you change your passwords regularly.

How to report phishing and other suspicious emails in Australia

Phishing is a criminal offense, and you can report all suspicious activity to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

When it comes to scams, knowledge is power. For more information on scams and the latest ones doing the rounds, visit ScamWatch.

We’re here to help

Our customers’ security is a top priority. For clever tips to protect yourself from scams, plus advice about what to do if you think you’re on the receiving end of one, check out our dedicated Scam Hub.

Important Information

Great Southern Bank, a business name of Credit Union Australia Ltd ABN 44 087 650 959, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence Number 238317. Conditions, fees and charges apply. This is general information and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider the appropriateness of the information, including the Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) booklet, before acting on it. The Financial Claims Scheme may apply to this product; refer to the T&Cs for more information.

Related articles
Decluttering tips that will also make you money
2 minute read
Can I get a loan for dental work?
3 minute read
Celebrating international womens day
4 minute read
Online security tips
Tips to budget for Christmas holidays
4 minute read
Your financial checklist for 2024
3 minute read
All Articles
Share article on Facebook Tweet this article email this article to a friend