Are you too smart to be scammed? Take this test to find out

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Australians are set to lose a record amount to scams in 2019, with projections from losses reported to Scamwatch and other government agencies so far expected to exceed $532 million by the end of the year, surpassing half a billion dollars for the first time.

This year’s National Scams Awareness Week (12-16 August) theme is “too smart to be scammed?” and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), along with more than 100 campaign partners from government and industry, is urging consumers to test their scam knowledge and refresh their scam protection and detection skills.

“Many people are confident they would never fall for a scam, but often it’s this sense of confidence that scammers target,” said ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.

“People need to update their idea of what a scam is so that we are less vulnerable. Scammers are professional businesses dedicated to ripping us off. They have call centres with convincing scripts, staff training programs and corporate performance indicators their ‘employees’ need to meet.”

Credit card comparison website this week released research revealing that more than one in four retirees (27 per cent) aged 65 and over have lost more than $1000 to credit card fraud.

The research came from an independent survey of 1500 credit card holders and was aimed at discovering which age demographics lost the most money to credit card scams.

It found that the older you become, the more susceptible you are to credit card fraud.

While those aged 65 and over lost the most money to credit card fraud, those aged 55-64 were the next age group targeted the most when it came to card scams, with 22 per cent reporting upwards of $1000 lost after having their credit card details skimmed. This is compared to 20 per cent of those aged 25-34 and only 11 per cent of under-25s.

Investment scams are one of the most sophisticated and convincing scams and continue to have the highest losses. These scams are prominent on social media, with ‘Facebook lottery’ scams, the ‘Loom’ pyramid scheme and cryptocurrency scams particularly common.

Cryptocurrency investment scams have seen record losses, with reports to the ACCC alone of $14.76 million between January and July 2019. Many use social media platforms, fake celebrity endorsements or fake online trading platforms that are made to look legitimate.

Protection advice
“Our advice is to be wary of ads you see on the internet,” Ms Rickard said. “Don’t be persuaded by celebrity endorsements or ‘not to be missed’ opportunities. You never know for certain who you’re dealing with or whether they’re credible.

“If you think you’re speaking to a friend on social media, call them, or find another way to contact them before acting on any advice that might result in you giving away your personal details or money.”

Scamwatch also suggests that people check ASIC’s list of companies you should not deal with. If the company that contacted you is on the list – do not deal with them, and even if they are not listed, continue researching and speak to a financial adviser before investing.

Be vigilant on social media, when shopping online and when answering the phone, and never give anyone who has contacted you out of the blue your personal details, banking details or remote access to your computer, no matter who they say they are. It’s best to assume scammers are everywhere, waiting for you to let your guard down.

“Remember, anyone could fall victim. No one is ‘too smart to be scammed’. Always ask yourself, ‘could this be a scam?’ and if you’re ever in doubt, decline the contact or hang up the phone. It’s often the safest option,” Ms Rickard said.

The ACCC has produced a series of videos to illustrate how to spot a scam, and to test people’s awareness of scams. The full series is also available on YouTube.

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Written by Ben


Total Comments: 34
  1. 0

    I had a phone call yesterday saying that my internet was to be disconnected within 24 hours due to suspicious activity. I actually got through to an ‘agent’ and told them in no uncertain terms that my internet isn’t compromised and that if they call me again, they’ll be reported to the police. ‘Click’ goes the phone 🙂

    • 0

      I just tell them good do it ASAP a so I don’t have to endure calls from you. After about the 6th call the phone has been unplugged.

    • 0

      I had the same claiming to be from Telstra. I dont have a landline and I’m not with Telstra so I told them to use their phone as a suppository and they were quite rude back to me suggesting I do something that is not physically possible 🙂

    • 0

      SuziJ This happened to me some time ago, A recorded voice which was a woman told me that there was virus in my modem and my internets would be shut down. I hung up and contacted Telstra security. They told me that this was the scam, Impossible to get a virus in the computer modem.

    • 0

      SuziJ This happened to me some time ago, A recorded voice which was a woman told me that there was virus in my modem and my internets would be shut down. I hung up and contacted Telstra security. They told me that this was the scam, Impossible to get a virus in the computer modem.

    • 0

      Well, I can’t say all are legitimate. I was scammed last month by a fraudster claiming to be a woman on a dating site. I lost $67,050 in total as I was sending money to take care of the fraudster’s parents. He claimed they were involved in a ghastly road accident. leaving them in that critical condition would be very inhumane of me. I kept sending money to the fraudster thinking I was serving humanity. I was so disappointed to discover it was all scam. I later got a recovery expert who helped me trace and hijack my money from this fraudster. It took him four days approximately but It was worth the wait. I’m glad to say I got my money back in one piece. You can contact his mail
      Email: [email protected]
      WhatsApp: +1 9176634684
      You Can Also Text Or Call: +1 9176634684

  2. 0

    If the Fed Govt could give the remotest rats backside about this issue, and their trusting constituents who suffer, they would put together a series of short, preferably not preachy, advices on the telly to make ppl aware of some of these scams. Many people come from a time when it was actually a good thing to trust others.
    I’m one of the few remaining ABC viewers, mainly because I can’t watch “reality” crap…every “ad break” we are subjected to endless identical promos for their programming. Why not inject some info that might just save a few from themselves and give a heads-up on some of the creeps that are out there.
    We gave SloMo $185m for an electoral stunt, then re-elected him, so why not find some $$ for something worthwhile.

    • 0

      It is not the Federal Government’s responsibility (or any other Government come to that) to protect people from thenselves. Most of these scam originate overseas and therefore out of reach from Australian judicial process.

      There are already a number of agencies such as ACCC, State and Territory Fair Trading, Choice and indeed business organisations themselves all regularly issueing warnings and across multi media platforms. How many times has this forum done the same? And yet here we go again! Even my local supermarkets have taken to making public announcements that organisations like the ATO and Centrelink never demand payments by iTune or other gift cards!

      Ultimately people are responsible for their own behaviour and you simply cannot legislate against stupidity or greed.

  3. 0

    I honestly don’t know if I will ever be scammed, there are some very sophisticated scams out there with more, certainly, on the drawing board. I take all sorts of precautions and, so far, they have worked. I don’t open emails from anyone I am not sure of and certainly no attachments, I don’t answer ‘phone calls from numbers that appear wrong and I don’t post anything that may give any personal details. The scammers are getting better with ‘phone calls in that they are using numbers that are local and connected to users who can be found on White Pages. I hope that I am doing enough.

  4. 0


  5. 0

    When I get calls saying my internet will be disconnected, I answer ” But I don’t have internet”. They immediatly hang up on me.

  6. 0


  7. 0

    I had a message yesterday from Google telling me I was one of 10 lucky people to be selected for a free Iphone 10, or an Ipad. Just fillout the details below with credit card details and $1-00 for postage to receive my free gift. Yeah right. Straight to the delete button.

  8. 0

    It is understandable that some might get caught by the “ATO'” and the “Computer/Internet” scam but those who get caught through dodgy investments are often victims of their own greed as are those who think they are getting something for nothing. Common sense seems to be in short supply at times.

  9. 0

    It is understandable that some might get caught by the “ATO'” and the “Computer/Internet” scam but those who get caught through dodgy investments are often victims of their own greed as are those who think they are getting something for nothing. Common sense seems to be in short supply at times.

  10. 0

    No, I am not too smart to be scammed but I am alert to many means scammers use to separate me from my money. I was scammed once, but not online. In the early1990s i was scammed for grand final tickets, the scammer took my telegraphed money and sent me shredded paper. I immediately alerted the police at the country town the money was sent to and the ‘tickets’ were sent from. The police went to the post office and caught the culprit red-handed doing it so someone else. He was not a very sophisticated scammer. In the end he was charged with several offenses, including using the postal services for criminal purposes, fined and ordered to make restitution. I eventually got my money back, but at $15 per month from the Clerk of the Court. Lesson learned

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