With scammers continually developing new ways to catch people out, we need to be vigilant in checking for those little clues that can alert us that something is a scam.
Scamwatch reports that from 1 January - 31 August 2022:
- There were over 146,700 scam reports and more than $381.2 million in total losses.
- The highest loss categories were investment scams, dating and romance scams and remote access scams.
- Businesses reported almost $70 million in losses across approximately 2,200 reports.
Know the signs
These are some simple things to look out for to detect a scam:
- Something urging you to act quickly or a caller threatening you for immediate payment.
- Messages and emails asking you to click on links or open attachments.
- Someone asking for your passwords, or personal and financial details.
- Offers that sound too good to be true.
- A caller asking to remotely access your computer.
- Requests for payment via unsecure or unusual methods - e.g. cryptocurrency, gift cards or bank transfer.
- Unsolicited offers of financial or investment advice.
- Offers to make fast or guaranteed money with little to no risk.
Be careful of links and attachments
- Don't click on or download anything you don't trust, especially in unexpected or suspicious text or emails.
- If unsure, check that a communication is real by contacting the person or organisation directly using details you've found yourself.
Protect your personal information
- Scammers may pose as a legitimate contact to get your details.
- Be suspicious of anyone asking for your passwords or access to your device. They may be a scammer.
- For added security enable two-factor authentication on your accounts where possible.
- Use strong passwords for your online accounts.
- Protect your newtork and devices with antivirus software.
Be careful with payments
- Use secure payment methods such as credit card.
- When making a large payment to a new recipient, or someone who claims to have a "new" bank account, always call to confirm their bank details using a number found on their website or that you have used before.
Verify before you buy
- If you're buying something on a site or through a seller you haven't used before, do your research first.
- Look for the seller's terms and conditions, ABN and physical address. The company's address should have a street name, not just a post office box.
- Search online for independent reviews about the seller.
- Don't rely on seeing a padlock in the address bar of your browser - this doesn't guarantee you're buying from a real company.
Research any opportunity that's too good to be true
- Seek professional advice from a registered financial advisor and check they're registered on the ASIC website.
If you’ve sent money or given your personal or banking details to a scammer, there are some steps you can take straight away to limit the damage and protect yourself from further loss. See Scamwatch's advice for where to get help.
About Scams Awareness Week
Scams Awareness Week is an annual campaign hosted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Scams Awareness Network, which raises awareness about common scams and offers tips on how people can protect themselves from scammers.
Visit the Scams Awareness Week website for more information.