Frauds and scams

A scam is a way of tricking people into handing over money or personal details. Scams constantly change as scammers take advantage of new technology, new products and services and local events or crises. Scammers are getting smarter, and anyone can be a victim of a scam.

The golden rule to protect yourself is to be alert to the fact that scams exist. When dealing with uninvited contacts from people or businesses, whether it’s over the phone, by mail, email, in person or on a social networking site, always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam.

Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is! There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself, including:

  • Always use password protection, the more complex the better, and don’t share access with others
  • Protect your WiFi network with a password and avoid using public computers or WiFi hotspots to access online banking or provide personal information
  • Be careful about how much personal information you share on social media sites
  • Beware of any requests for your details or money
  • Know who you are dealing with. If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a business, take some time to do a bit more research. Do a Google image search on photos or search the internet for others who may have had dealings with them
  • Don’t use the contact details provided in the message sent to you
  • Always use an online shopping service that you know and trust
  • Beware of unusual payment methods. Scammers often ask for payment by wire transfers, preloaded cards and even Google Play, iTunes cards and Bitcoin
  • Think twice before using virtual currencies (like bitcoin) – they do not have the same protections as other transaction methods such as PayPal
  • Don’t agree to transfer money or goods for someone else – money laundering is a criminal offence
  • Put a lock on your mailbox and shred your bills and other important documents before throwing them out.

You can help others by reporting a scam to the appropriate authorities. Your information will help these organisations build a better picture of the lates scams and warn other people about what to look out for. Please visit Scamwatch to report a scam.

For further information to help you identify and avoid the 10 most common methods scammers use, please visit ACCC - The little black book of scams.