Scams cost Australians hundreds of millions of dollars each year, but money is not the only thing they steal.
With modern technology scammers are becoming smarter and will try to steal your money and your valuable personal information.
Scams cost Australian consumers, businesses and the economy hundreds of millions of dollars each year and cause serious emotional harm to victims and their families.
During Scams Awareness Week we’re encouraging consumers to look out for scams and in particular those that aim to steal your personal identity.
Your personal identity is valuable for scammers. With your personal information, scammers can:
- access and drain your bank account
- open new bank accounts in your name and take out loans or lines of credit
- take out phone plans and other contracts
- purchase expensive goods in your name
- steal your superannuation
- gain access to your government online services
- access your email to find more sensitive information
- access your social media accounts and impersonate you to scam your family and friends.
How to protect yourself
- If you’re unsure if someone is legitimate, even if they claim to be from the government or trusted business, do not send money or give them your personal information.
- Lock your mailbox.
- Shred sensitive documents you no longer need.
- Check your credit report using a reputable credit reference bureau at least once a year - this can help you catch any unauthorised activity.
- Visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner for more information.
Learn about types of scams on the Scamwatch website and warn your family and friends.
How to get help
If you’ve lost money or given personal information to a scammer, there are steps you can take straight away to limit the damage and protect yourself from further loss.
- If you’ve sent money or shared your banking or credit card details
Contact your financial institution immediately. They might be able to stop or reverse a transaction or close your account.
- If you’ve given your personal information to a scammer
Visit IDCARE, Australia and New Zealand’s not-for-profit national identity and cyber support service. IDCARE will provide support and a response plan for your situation.
- If the scam occurred on social media
Report the scam on the social media platform or website. Read how you can report scams on Facebook services.
Never feel pressured to give your personal details away. For more information about scams, how to protect yourself or to report a scam, visit Scamwatch.
Take the time to warn your friends and family about these scams.
Scams Awareness Week is an initiative of the Scams Awareness Network, a group of Australian and New Zealand government agencies with responsibility for consumer protection and policing in scams, cyber safety and fraud.