Scams cost Australian consumers and businesses many millions of dollars each year and cause serious emotional harm to victims and their families. In 2020 there were 444,164 scam reports made to Scamwatch, ACORN, ReportCyber and Australia’s top 10 financial institutions. A total of $851 million was reported lost to scams.
Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels across Australia. Everyone may be vulnerable to a scam at some time.
During Scams Awareness Week we’re encouraging people to get talking about scams.
Why it’s important to talk about scams
Many people who experience a scam never report it to anyone. While there may be many reasons for this, sometimes it’s because people feel shame about falling for a scam.
By having conversations about scams, this not only helps to reduce any stigma around scams, but it can also prevent scams from happening in the first place or help people to get out of a scam sooner.
How to talk about scams
Talk to your friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues about a scam you’ve come across, or ask if they’ve come across any scams. They may be involved in a scam but may not realise it until they have a conversation about scams.
Asking a simple question like “Have you ever been scammed?” or “How many scams a day do you get?” or “What are your top tips for avoiding scams??” or making a comment about how many scams there are can get a conversation started.
If you have friends or family who’ve fallen victim to a scam, simply listening and showing that you care can improve their state of mind and help them to open up. You might need to share your own scam stories first or talk about what you know about scams to help the person feel more comfortable talking about their own scam experience.
The more we talk about scams, the less likely we’ll get involved in one. Awareness is our best defence against scams, so take the time to TALK with those around you about scams.
Please report scams to Scamwatch.
- If you’ve sent money or shared your banking or credit card details with a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution as soon as possible. See the Australian Banking Association’s summary of steps for consumers when making a complaint to a bank.
- If you’ve lost personal information and you are concerned your identity may be compromised, contact IDCARE for free support on 1800 595 160 or visit www.idcare.org.
- If the scam occurred on social media, report it to the social media platform.
If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety, emotional concerns or distress about scams, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 24 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.
For more information about scams visit www.scamwatch.gov.au.
Scams Awareness Week is a national campaign by 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.