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The snake oil salesman comes of age

These days you're more likely to lose your dough to a scammer over the phone or by email rather than a smooth-talking door to door conman.
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Category: Personal

In fact, by the end of June this year, phone and online scams accounted for 87 per cent of all scams reported to ScamWatch, totalling over $33M in lost dollars.

How does this happen? Well, that is a good question. It seems that scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated and as a result, it is getting much harder to tell what is real from what isn’t.

So what should you look out for? It’s hard to keep up with all the scams going around but there are several types of scams that you can become familiar with so that you don’t get caught out.

One of the most popular ways scammers try to con people out of their personal information is by 'Phishing'.  As the name implies, scammers will 'Phish' for personal details such as bank account numbers, credit card details and passwords.

Scammers will often try to entice you to give up the goods with the promise of an unexpected windfall. You know the type, “Hi, I’m calling from ‘insert name of trusted organisation or government department here’. According to our system we owe you money! All YOU need to do is give US your credit card details and it’s all yours!”

Right now, tax scams are doing the rounds. The Australian Tax Office has warned people to be wary of any calls or emails from people who say they are from the ATO demanding payment for outstanding tax debts or offering an unexpected return.

If you are unsure about any call or email you receive don’t panic. Just hang up or delete the email. If necessary, contact the organisation in question but remember don’t use the contact details provided by the person on the phone or via email. Do your own research.

If you think you’ve given your bank details to a scammer, you should let your financial institution know immediately. At Bank of us we have a state of the art fraud monitoring system that assists with early detection and prevention of VISA credit and debit card fraud, however the sooner we know someone else may be trying to access your accounts the better. We can check your transactions history and if necessary cancel and re-issue any cards.

It is also a good idea to report a suspected scam to ScamWatch. This government website warns people about current scams, monitors trends and even disrupts scams if possible.

Looking for more information? Check out these handy resources:

ScamWatch 

Protecting yourself from scams ACCC 

Bank of us safe banking tips

Companies you should not deal with (MoneySmart website)