What can you do if you’ve been scammed?

Scams cost Australian consumers, businesses, and the economy hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

It’s not just inexperienced or greedy people who get scammed. It can be easy to let our guard down in our busy lives, and scammers are clever. They often use emotional triggers to extort money and information from their victims, causing emotional harm and financial misfortune.

Scams include attempts to gain your personal information (such as hacking, identity theft and phishing, buying or selling rip-offs, and even dating and romance deceptions.

Where to get help?

If you’ve lost money to a scammer or given out your contact details, you’re unlikely to get your money back. However, you can take immediate steps to limit the damage and protect yourself from further loss.

Contact your financial institution straight away if you’ve sent money or shared your banking details with a scammer. Your financial institution may be able to intercept a transaction or close your account if the scammer has your account details. It might be possible for your credit card provider to reverse the transaction if fraudulent transactions have been billed to the card.

It would help if you warned your friends and family about scams. Let your industry association and other contacts know about the fraud if you’re a business.

Recover your stolen identity.

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), the annual economic impact of identity crime exceeds $2 billion1. If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, it is important that you act quickly to reduce your risk of financial loss or other damages.

You can contact IDCARE - a free government-funded service which will work with you to develop a specific response plan to your situation and support you through the process. Call IDCARE ON 1800 595 160 (if in Australia) or 0800 121 068 (if in New Zealand).

You can also apply for a Commonwealth Victims' Certificate - a certificate helps support your claim that you've been the victim of identity crime and can be used to help re-establish your credentials with government or financial institutions. Download an Application for a Commonwealth Victims’ Certificate to begin the process of recovering your identity.

You can also help ensure others are warned about a scam by reporting it to the authorities such as the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) via the Report a scam webpage.

You can also alert the appropriate agency in your state or territory about a scam to help them warn the community and to take action to counteract the scam. These agencies include:

Contact a financial counselling or support service.

If you or someone you know has been scammed, you can contact financial counsellors, who are skilled professionals who provide advice and support to people struggling with financial hardship. Also, please talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust for additional support. If you have been scammed, consider contacting one of the following counselling or support services such as:

If you suspect a scam or fraudulent activity, members can contact us by phone between 8am and 6pm AEST/AEDT Monday to Friday on 1800 033 139 or by email at info@defencebank.com.au 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Important note: This information is of a general nature and is not intended to be relied on by you as advice in any particular matter. You should contact us at Defence Bank to discuss how this information may apply to your circumstances.


1 https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about-us/our-portfolios/criminal-justice/cybercrime-identity-security/identity-crime

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