If you've lost money to a scam or given out your personal details to a scammer, you're unlikely to get your money back. However there are steps you can take straight away to limit the damage and protect yourself from further loss.
If you've sent money or personal banking information to a scammer, contact your bank or credit union immediately. They may be able to stop a money transfer or cheque, or close your account if the scammer has your account details. Your credit card provider may be able to perform a 'charge back' (reverse the transaction) if your credit card was billed fraudulently.
If you're not sure if you're being scammed, stop sending money. Scammers will keep asking for more money until you stop.
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.
- 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. Visit the iDcare website or call 1300 IDCARE (432273)
- 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. Visit Victims of Commonwealth identity crime
By making a report to the appropriate agency, you help them identify scammers and warn other people about the scam.
|Type of incident||Agency|
|Banking||Your bank or financial institution|
|Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network|
|Financial and investment scams||Australian Securities and Investments Commission|
|Fraud and theft|
Your local police - call 131 444
In Victoria call your local police station
|Spam||Australian Communications and Media Authority|
|Tax related scams||Australian Taxation Office|
|Other scams||ACCC via Scamwatch|
If the scammer first made contact through a website, social media, by email or phone, contact the relevant company with the scammer’s details. Your report will help them take action to disrupt scams.
You should also warn your friends and family. If you’re a small business, let your industry association or other business contacts know about the scam.
If you think your computer or device has been hacked, you should run a full system check using a reliable virus checker. Once this is complete, you should change all your online passwords that you have used from that computer.
If you think one of your online accounts (e.g. your bank account, email, online shopping account or social networking site) has been compromised, you should change your password immediately. Most reputable websites provide step-by-step instructions for how you can recover a hacked account.
While the ACCC is the national agency dealing with general consumer protection matters, state and territory agencies may also be able to assist you.
- Australian Capital Territory Office of Regulatory Services
- Consumer Affairs Victoria
- New South Wales Fair Trading
- Northern Territory Consumer Affairs
- Queensland Office of Fair Trading
- South Australia Office of Consumer and Business Affairs
- Tasmania Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading
- Western Australia Department of Commerce—Consumer Protection.
If you or someone you know has been scammed, please talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust. You could also contact one of the following counselling or support services.
- When you need support in a crisis, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24/7) or visit www.lifeline.org.au
- For information about depression or anxiety, contact beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au
- Free professional telephone and online counselling for anyone affected by suicide. Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
- Telephone and online counselling and support service for young people aged between 5 and 25 years. Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
- Telephone and online support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns. MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78
Scammers will often try to take advantage when you’re feeling vulnerable and try to extract more money from you through a follow up scam. For example, a scammer may say they are from a law enforcement agency and will investigate your case for a fee. Or they may contact you with a completely different scam. Be alert to follow up scams at all times.