1 in 3 reported scams happen by phone. Scammers call, claiming to be from well-known organisations. This includes government organisations, law enforcement, investment and law firms, banks, telecommunication providers.

They make it sound urgent to get to you act quickly. They may try to convince you to give them your personal or bank account details, or remote access to your computer. The caller may already have some details about you, such as your name or address.

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Warning signs it might be a scam

Stop and think. It's probably a scam call if the caller:

  • asks for personal or financial information:
    • payment, or for you to move money between accounts
    • your password, pin, one-time code, or some other security information
    • credit card or banking details to process a refund or other ‘overpayment’
  • wants you to install software or access a secure account on your mobile phone or computer
  • threatens you with immediate arrest, deportation, or blackmail etc.
  • suggests you or your accounts have been hacked or involved in fraud
  • tells you about a way to make quick, easy money with little risk or effort.

Steps you can take to avoid phone scams

These simple steps can help prevent loss of money or personal information to scams.

Screen unknown numbers

  • Let calls from unknown phone numbers go to voicemail.
  • If you are not sure if a caller is who they say they are, it’s ok to hang up.

You can still receive scam calls even if you have a private number or are on the Do Not Call register.

Check the call is real

  • Never use contact details given by a caller or written in an email or SMS.
  • Call the organisation or person back on a phone number you have found yourself (on their website).
  • Use the organisation’s secure, authenticated portal or app (never through a link).

Be scam aware

  • Immediately hang up on anyone who tries to threaten or intimidate you.
  • Never give anyone remote access to your computer.
  • If an offer appears too good to be true, it probably is. Research any investment opportunity fully before investing money. Visit MoneySmart for advice.

Common Phone scam types

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