Give scams the cold shoulder

31 August 2018

Last year, Australians were duped out of nearly $100 million by scams, and according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), older Australians are more susceptible.

If you get a phone call or an email out of the blue offering you something that sounds too good to be true, then think twice before you take any action.

That’s because scams are on the rise, particularly those targeting older Australians who may have been recently bereaved or divorced – times when you are at your most vulnerable.

Scams take on all different guises but they have one single focus – to cheat you of your money. There are scams involving dating and romance, investments, unexpected lottery wins, inheritance and reclaiming money that scammers claim is rightfully yours.

Scams most commonly operate online, over the phone or via email. Scammers have sophisticated methods to win over your confidence, then ask for money. The key is to be alert from the start.

Of course these scams are not just online or on the phone

People who come to your front door can be equally cunning. They may claim they have noticed tiles missing from your roof and offer their services. Invariably you will be asked to make a payment upfront, and they will fail to return once they have the money in their pocket.

As fraudsters become increasingly sophisticated, it’s important to be aware, and do your research so you can protect yourself.

Protect yourself: Tips from the ACCC

  1. Don’t be pressured into making a decision. Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency.
  2. Be suspicious of requests for money, even if they sound or look official. Government departments will never contact you asking for money upfront in order to claim a rebate.
  3. Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, including preloaded debit cards or gift cards.
  4. Don’t respond to phone calls or emails offering financial advice or opportunities – just hang up or delete the email.
  5. Be suspicious of unexpected emails or letters advising you how to claim an inheritance or competition prize.

Go to scamwatch.gov.au for more.

The information on this website is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal objectives, situation or needs. You should consider obtaining professional financial, taxation and or legal advice tailored to your personal circumstances prior to making any financial decision.