Scammers are very clever and are constantly finding new ways to reach potential victims. Our tips below may help protect yourself, a friend or family member.
Simple advice to avoid becoming a victim:
Do not let anyone pressure you into making decisions
Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency so the recipient of the call will act impulsively. They do this through short deadlines, fake emergencies, threats of legal action or claims a deal is too good for you to not consider entering into it now.
Get a second opinion
If someone is requesting money from you and you have any doubts, discuss it with a trusted and reliable third party, like a friend, family member or contact WA ScamNet.
Do not respond to emails, text messages and phone calls from strangers offering predictions on shares, investment tips, or investment advice. Always do your own research before you invest any money and check the company or scheme is licensed on ASIC's MoneySmart website. Watch out for claims the investment has zero risk with massive returns.
Know who you’re dealing with. Watch out for profiles on social media and dating websites who claim they are located in your area but then can’t meet due to travel or moving away. Be aware of them avoiding meeting you but are then happy to request money. Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met in person, regardless of the circumstances or reasons they claim to need it. You aren’t a bank and will not be able to recover the money from them. If someone approaches you on social media and you don’t know them, it may be a scam.
Cold call offering help with your computer
If you receive a call claiming to be from Microsoft, Telstra, NBN or anyone else, telling you your computer or your internet has a problem, it is likely to be a scam. Never allow anyone to remotely log into your computer and if you do, do not log into any important accounts or applications, such as your bank accounts.
Government agency calling
Government agencies will generally write to you if you are entitled to, or owe, money. If somebody calls you claiming to be from the Government offering you unexpected money, be cautious. Get enough information on the organisation and the caller and then find independent contact details so you can check the legitimacy of what you have been told.
Making a Payment
Take a second to think about how an organisation or person is asking you to make a payment to them. Bank transfer, cash deposits, cardless cash withdrawals, gift cards or international money transfer services are extremely difficult to reverse once completed and even more difficult once the money has been released? Scammers use this method for that exact reason. Even using the ‘family & friends’ option through PayPal cannot always be reversed. By the time you discover you are the victim of a scam or even just made an error, it is too late.
If you have been asked to purchase gift cards to pay taxes, catch scammers or pay outstanding debts you know nothing about, this is a scam. No government agency or business will ever ask you to make a payment via gift cards. Gift cards are not a means to pay off debts. If you paid a scammer with a gift card, report it is as soon as possible. Call the company that issued the gift card and tell them the gift card was used in a scam.
Obtaining information from reliable and trustworthy sources is the best way to protect yourself from scams. WA ScamNet and Scamwatch websites regularly publish updates on scams, how to avoid them and how to get help. Download the Scam Spotting fact sheet for advice. Subscribe to WA ScamNet email alerts and follow Consumer Protection WA on Twitter or facebook. You can also subscribe to Scamwatch Radars and Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) alerts.