Scams Awareness Week is an annual campaign hosted by the ACCC and the Scams Awareness Network, which raises awareness about common scams and offers tips on how people can protect themselves from scammers.
This year Scams Awareness Week is about empowering people to learn how to spot a scam and encouraging them to take the time to check whether a communication or offer is real.
There are some simple ways to detect a scam. These are some things to look out for:
- A person or a message urging you to act quickly, whether it’s a threat to make an urgent payment, a request for upfront payment or a limited opportunity too good to miss.
- A person or a message asking you to update or provide your personal details, such as identifying information, banking details or passwords, or asking to remotely access your device.
- Any payment request via unsecure or unusual methods such as cryptocurrency, gift cards or bank transfer.
- A person or suspicious message claiming they have new contact details or asking for payment to a new bank account.
- Anyone offering unsolicited financial or investment advice or claiming you can make fast or guaranteed money with little to no risk.
Scams can cause serious harm, so take the time to check whether an offer or contact is genuine before you act on it. Here are some simple tips to protect you from being scammed:
Know the signs.
Learn to identify key scam signs and protect yourself.
If you spot any of the following signs—stop to check whether an offer or communication is real:
- Something urging you to act quickly.
- 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 such as cryptocurrency, gift cards or bank transfer.
- Requests asking for payment to a new bank account.
- Unsolicited offers of financial or investment advice.
- Offers to make fast or guaranteed money with little to no risk.
Stop and check.
Be careful of links and attachments Don’t click on or download anything you don’t trust, especially in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.
- If unsure, check that a communication is real by contacting the person or organisation directly using details you’ve found yourself.
- Scammers can spoof phone numbers and emails so they appear to be sent from a genuine source. Don’t automatically trust something just because it appears in a previous conversation with a trusted source.
- Make sure your antivirus software is up to date.
Protect your personal information.
Never give personal information to a stranger. Scammers will pose as a legitimate contact to get your details to hack your accounts or steal your identity:
- Anyone asking for your passwords or access to your device is likely a scammer.
- For added security enable two-factor authentication on your accounts where possible.
- Use strong passphrases for your online accounts and protect your network and devices with antivirus software. Be careful with payments Use secure payment methods such as credit card.
- If a known contact claims they have a “new” bank account, phone number or other details, call the person to confirm using a trusted number you’ve used before.
- When making a large payment to a new recipient, or recipient who claims to have changed their 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 sellers’ terms and conditions, ABN, and physical address. The company’s address should have a street name, not just a post office box.
- Search a seller or business name and details online for independent reviews.
- 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.
Remember: Scammers can pretend to be anyone online, including the government or your bank so you can never be entirely sure who you are dealing with when you’re contacted out of the blue.
Research any opportunity that’s too good to be true.
Be wary of anyone that claims you can make easy, fast or guaranteed money.
- Seek professional advice from a registered financial advisor and check they’re registered on the ASIC website.
- Do your reseach before making any decisions and check Moneysmart and Scamwatch for information on investment scams.
Visit the Scams Awareness Week website for more information: www.scamwatch.gov.au/scamsweek