Are you about to make a payment to a scammer?
Scammers come in various forms and disguises. Whether you received a call, email, or SMS requesting payment, it's crucial to take a moment and verify before taking any action, even if the request appears to be from us.
Similar to acquiring any new skill, becoming acquainted with the most prevalent scam types and tactics employed by these deceitful individuals can greatly assist in safeguarding yourself from becoming their next target.
Some common scam types include:
Impersonation scams occur when customers are contacted via phone, text or email by a scam-bag falsely claiming to be from a familiar company, such as a bank, telco, software company or government agency.
They'll often give a fake but credible story, to trick you into giving them remote access to your computer or device. This gives the scam-bag full access to your computer – and personal information – from a remote location.
Just like you’d never let a stranger into your home, NEVER let them into your computer either. Hang-up and visit a local computer expert for reassurance.
Scam-bags may even try to impersonate your family and ask you for money urgently because they’ve lost their phone. A simple strategy is to just call your loved one on their real number first – most of the time they’ll answer the call and confirm the message wasn’t from them.
| Investment Scams
An investment scam occurs when someone contacts you out of nowhere, either via phone or email, offering the chance to invest in a 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity'.
Whether it’s a cold call from a scam-bag pretending to be a stock broker or portfolio manager, or being approached via social media or email with a money-making opportunity that requires you act quickly, you’re promised the investment will provide excellent returns and involve very little risk on your behalf. It will sound like a win-win for you or your business.
The scam-bag often sounds legitimate and knowledgeable and will throw facts, figures and projections at you to make their investment seem too good to miss out on.
Check ASIC’s Moneysmart website or preferably, speak with a TRUSTED Financial Advisor before you invest.
| Goods & Services Scams
Buying things online is a great way to find a bargain, but it is also a scam-bag’s playground. If you’re selling an item, scam-bags can request that you send the item before they’ve paid for it, sometimes they will offer to pay you more than your list price and ask you to send them a refund (called an overpayment scam). In both cases they subsequently disappear with your money when you try to follow up.
If you are buying an item, scam-bags may request a non-refundable deposit or provide you with an item that’s markedly different to what you thought you were getting.
If you are making online purchases through platforms like eBay and Facebook Marketplace, it’s always worth going to inspect item/s in person where possible. Be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true, and don’t rush or be pressured to buy – Scam-bags love to make you act before you think about it.
Another online shopping tip is to look for https:// & padlock to confirm you are on a secure and legitimate website.
| Romance & Dating Scams
Romance scam-bags set out to steal your heart in order to defraud you.
They usually create fake online identities designed to lure you in. Once they’ve gained your trust, often investing several months of close contact, they use your newfound relationship to request that you send them money or gifts.
They may plead with you, asking for cash to help with a non-existent health, travel, or family problem, or ask you to transfer assets into their name – using manipulative, psychologically controlling and deceitful tactics to get what they want.
Never send money, or share passwords, card, or account details with someone you met online. If unsure, check with your family or trusted friends about your online relationship – they may notice RED FLAGS you’ve missed.
| Threats & Extortion Scams
|Threat and extortion scams occur when a scam-bag uses realistic threatening tactics to frighten their victims into sending them money.
Scam-bags can pretend to be from an organisation such as the Police / FBI / ATO or a bank and threaten you with arrest, large fines, or even physical harm if you don’t pay them immediately.
Sexual extortion (sextortion) occurs when a scam-bag tricks or coerces you into sending nude or sexual images of yourself. Once you’ve sent the images, the person you’ve been talking to threatens to share them publicly or with your friends and family unless you pay them a ransom.
Be cautious about your online interactions, who you engage with and what you share with them. If you are threatened or you are concerned for your safety, report it to the police, inform your bank and cease interactions with the scam-bag immediately.
We strongly recommend that parents speak to their children about these concerning new trends and ensure they are comfortable to speak with you if they face this type of scam.
| Business Email Compromise
Businesses are a great target for scam-bags. They are often busy, move larger amounts of money and have lots of staff who are targets they can exploit.
Business email compromise scams involve emails from a compromised email address or are made to look like they are from someone you know, like:
- Your Boss
- Your Supplier
- A Customer, or
- Your Lawyer
These scams usually request you to send a payment to a new BSB & Account number that is controlled by the scam-bag.
If you get an email or invoice with payment details, we recommend calling any person you are paying on a phone number you found on their public website (i.e not one they told you over the phone, or from an email or text they sent you) to verify that you are paying to the correct BSB & Account number.
Scammers have a wide range of techniques they can use deceive you in an attempt to access your money. No matter what kind of scam it is, being aware of these common tactics can help protect your hard-earned cash.
URGENCY – they will pressure you act NOW so that you don’t have time to think. Often, victims realise they have been tricked within 24 hours of the scam and unfortunately after the money is gone.
- UNUSUAL: Scam-bags will ask you to send them money in unusual methods, money-orders, wire or bank transfers, preloaded gift cards, or cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. This just makes it harder for them to be traced or for you to get your money back.
- TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: offers that look or sound ‘un-real’ probably are the literal translation ‘not real’. Do your research and don’t be fooled by empty promises.
- EXPLOIT YOUR TRUST: Scam-bags will prey on the fact that you may be too polite to say no, ignore their messages or simply hang up on them. They can groom you for many weeks or even months before they ask for money, and equally they can ask for small amounts of money that gradually increases in size until overtime they amount to a very large number.
- OFFER TO HELP: they will often contact you and attempt to trick you into thinking they are helping you. It could be to remove a security threat on your computer or device, to move your money to ‘safety’ or even to help you get the money back they’ve already scammed from you.
When it comes to fighting against scam artists, the most effective strategy is to take the offensive. The more you educate yourself about scams and the tactics these scammers employ, the better prepared you'll be to shield yourself and your loved ones from potential losses. Join us in our battle against these deceitful individuals, enhance your skills, and spread your knowledge far and wide – you never know who you might help!
If you're interested in discovering more about safeguarding yourself from scams, check out ScamWatch or give us a call at 132 067.