Scams Awareness Week runs from 21–25 May 2018. Australians are urged to be on the lookout for threat-based impersonation scams by taking a moment to ‘Stop and check: is this for real?’.
Scams Awareness Week is an initiative of the Scams Awareness Network.
How these scams work
Scammers may pretend to be from a government agency, a well-known company like an energy or telecommunications provider, Australia Post, a bank or police. Their aim is to scare you into parting with your money or personal information and if you don’t, they threaten you with fines, disconnecting your internet, taking you to court, arrest or even deportation.
The categories with the most threat-based impersonation scam reports in 2017 were:
Key facts from 2017
Tips to protect yourself
- If you’re contacted unexpectedly and threatened by someone who says they’re from a government agency or trusted business, always consider the possibility that it may be a scam – then stop and check if it’s for real.
Don’t be pressured by a threatening caller and don’t respond to threatening emails or voicemail messages asking you to call someone back. If you do, the scammers may increase their intimidation and attempts to get your money.
If you’re unsure whether a call or email is genuine, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source, such as a phone book or online search, then get in touch with them to ask if they contacted you. Don’t use the contact details provided by the caller or in the message they sent to you.
If you’re still unsure, speak to a family member or friend about what's happened.
Never give money, bank account or credit card details or other personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust – and never by email or over the phone.
A government agency or trusted business will never ask you to pay by unusual methods such as with gift or store cards, iTunes cards, wire transfers or bitcoin.
Don’t open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or emails and don’t click on links or open attachments – just delete them.
Never give anyone remote access to your computer if you’re contacted out of the blue – whether through a phone call, pop up window or email – and even if they claim to be from a well-known company like Telstra.
Targeting scams: report of the ACCC on scams activity 2017. This report explains key trends in scam activity and highlights the impact of scams on the community. It highlights the cooperative work of the ACCC, other regulators and law enforcement agencies to disrupt scams and educate consumers.
Scam statistics. Get the latest scams data from this resource that illustrates the prevalence and impact of scams. The statistics can be filtered by scam type, month and year, allowing you to track trends in scam activity.
The little black book of scams. This ACCC publication can help you learn more about scams including the most common scams to watch out for, the different ways scammers can contact you, the tools scammers use to trick you and the warning signs to look out for..
This infographic provides a snapshot of key trends in scam activity from the 2017 Targeting scams report.
Scamwatch and the Scams Awareness Network would like to acknowledge the assistance of our government, business, and community group partners for the 2018 Scams Awareness Week campaign.
|ANZ||National Australia Bank|
|Association of Independent Retirees||National Online Retailers Association (NORA)|
|Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)||Neighbourhood Watch Victoria|
Australian Council of Social Services
|NSW Seniors Card program|
|Australian Gaming Council||Origin|
|Australian Library and Information Association||PayPal|
|Australian Retailers Association||Qantas|
|Bendigo and Adelaide Bank||Restaurant & Catering Australia|
|Commonwealth Bank of Australia||RSL Victoria|
|Communications Alliance||RSVP / Oasis|
|Consumer Action||SA Seniors Card program|
|COTA WA||South Australia Police|
|Customer Owned Banking Association||Suncorp|
|Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW||The Senior|
|Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria|
|Financial Ombudsman Service||Victoria Police|
|Gold Coast Retirees||Victorian Seniors Card program|
|WA Seniors Card Program|
|MGA Independent Retailers||Western Union|