Scammers are becoming more sophisticated day-by-day, finding new ways to trick people into sharing private information which they can then use to their own advantage.
For example, a scammer no longer needs to obtain all your information at once. If they can get you to confirm your address and phone number, they can then sell that information to other online criminals who include it in a huge database of personal and financial details.
Once they have enough of these details, scammers can build a complete profile which they can then use to order credit cards, purchase items online and even apply for a loan in your name.
In more recent times, scammers have taken to impersonating financial institutions, including Bank of us, and advised the person receiving the call that they are “entitled to a fee refund” before requesting details of their account number, debit and/or credit card for crediting the refund to (which a financial institution would never request). Scammers have also impersonated Government departments, placing calls from fake entities such as the 'Australian Government Reclaim Department'. Consequently, even if you receive a call or email from a seemingly-legitimate source, if you have not specifically requested it - be wary, be very wary.
Find out about recently reported scam tactics by visiting the ScamWatch website.
Simple ways to spot a scam
The golden rule when it comes to scam spotting is trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. If in doubt, just hang up the phone/delete the email.
An example of a common scam that is doing the rounds:
- You're contacted out of the blue by someone telling you you've 'won something' or 'have received a refund'.
- You're not expecting the money or know nothing about the scheme or company in question.
- The caller or emailer asks you to identify yourself by providing financial details like your credit card number, or other personal information like your address, phone number, or mother's maiden name.
How to report a scam
In Australia you can report a suspected scam directly to the Australian Government through the Scam Watch website.
Help! I think a scammer has my details
If you think you may have inadvertently provided a scammer with your financial details, particularly credit card details, please contact us immediately. We can check your transaction history for you, and if necessary cancel and re-issue any cards.