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

Australians are set to lose a record amount to scams in 2019, according to the ACCC.

Are you too smart to be scammed?

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 comparethemarket.com.au 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.

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    SuziJ
    13th Aug 2019
    10:24am
    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 :)
    VeryCaringBigBear
    13th Aug 2019
    10:38am
    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.
    ozirules
    13th Aug 2019
    10:38am
    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 :)
    KB
    13th Aug 2019
    11:53am
    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.
    KB
    13th Aug 2019
    11:53am
    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.
    Straydays
    13th Aug 2019
    10:38am
    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.
    KSS
    13th Aug 2019
    12:37pm
    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.

    13th Aug 2019
    10:51am
    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.
    Neil
    13th Aug 2019
    10:54am
    BUY A GUARDIAN MK 2 TELSTRA PHONE NEVER HAD ANYMORE CALLS NOW FOR OVER 12 MONTHS
    GOOGLE IT UP BEST MONEY SPENT EVER
    casey
    13th Aug 2019
    10:55am
    When I get calls saying my internet will be disconnected, I answer " But I don't have internet". They immediatly hang up on me.
    john
    13th Aug 2019
    7:28pm
    My NBN scam calls are actually pre recorded , its Nicol, with press such and such a button?????
    Neil
    13th Aug 2019
    10:57am
    BUY A WHISTLE BLOW INTO PHONE . THEY GET VERY UPSET
    casey
    13th Aug 2019
    12:45pm
    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.
    Tanker
    13th Aug 2019
    1:07pm
    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.
    Tanker
    13th Aug 2019
    1:07pm
    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.
    Eddy
    13th Aug 2019
    1:43pm
    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
    sunnyOz
    13th Aug 2019
    2:14pm
    Question should be - "Are you dumb enough to be scammed?"
    Anonymous
    13th Aug 2019
    3:19pm
    Just like Graham Richardson used to say about Turnbull that he may have been the most intelligent person in the room, but he's not the smartest, sunnyOz, it's not a matter of intelligence or the lack thereof. We have a friend who is a retired university professor who got scammed of $500 because he was not familiar with computers and he was told his computer was "locked" and he needed to pay to get it "unlocked". If the scammers find a person's weak point, they will exploit it.
    john
    13th Aug 2019
    7:26pm
    I can never understand when people get these scam lies but their computer is still working, then they hand over money to have it fixed. Maybe its just me , I have very very few people I trust full stop. And business wise you always have to step back and check .No matter what.
    But of course telephone /computer trick, scams, are the new Mafia , still there, but much further underground and what ever the police of the world think they are still with us.

    More and more dangerous because no one will ever find them again. So beware.

    Believe no one and nothing! Until you check double.
    Thats the world we live in folks!
    FrankC
    13th Aug 2019
    2:28pm
    I was contacted by someone from "Facebook" The email reads as follows "The ability to post new stories / events has been disabled on your account until we can further verify your identity. In order to re-enable posting, please verify your identity by providing a valid ID document. Please reply to this e-mail with a scanned copy of all the docments listed below 1. Scanned copy of Passport ( both pages visible) 2. Scanned copy of Medicare 3 ,Scanned copy of Driver`s Licence ( both sdes ) *Your documents will be reviewed by our legal and compliance team and if proven that all information on your account is correct, we will remove all restrictions in at most 24 hours."
    That is too stupid for words, and they think people will fall for that !!! Talk about Identity theft !!
    bobm
    13th Aug 2019
    6:43pm
    I got rid of Telstra as they wouldn't come to the party and honor their written word regarding Broadband.
    Best thing I have done. Very few calls and the computer line shows a number I don't know I don't answer.
    If I can't get rid of them when they do ring I speak to them in Pidgin English which does the trick, no more calls. You can't abuse them as they will ring at any time, mainly the middle of the night. Pidgin does the trick as not too many people don't know the language in more to the point the Indians, Asians and most of the Australians don't know.
    Great they don't ring me. I can't remember the last time since I have had a call. No computer or NBN problems.
    john
    13th Aug 2019
    7:20pm
    I don't believe the figures of millions lost to scams on the phone. I know there are quite a lot that have been done over , but really with all the publicity about this now surely people know just don't agree or say or for that matter answer a phonecall that you do not recognise the number,.
    If it is really a real call they will get to you someway.

    Every day we get calls from so called NBN saying our computer is to lose its connection, then the tax office then that someone has left you a fortune!

    Simply don't answer the phone , get a relative if you are elderly to set up your phone so you can read the numbers , and not answer. But also everyone even the elderly who do live at home and look after themselves, can hear when a phone call is a recording!
    Recently the NBN scam starts immediately with a voice over saying "this call may be recorded for training purposes. You only hear that if the call is instIgated by YOU.

    No banks, no Tax people , no NBN calls , are real , I am amazed at how many times we get calls and they are all the same , we get recorded "This is Nicol calling from the NBN" I have had that call at home perhaps 6 times in the last 2 weeks.

    You don't even have to argue with them i=on the phone pick it up and hang it up! Easy , if they are legit they'll get to you some other way!
    Mad as Hell
    14th Aug 2019
    3:56pm
    I got scammed by the LNP and Greens. They told told me I would be entitled to the Old Age Pension then after I retired in 2017 they halved my entitlements. Informed ASIC who told me the best thing I could do was to never vote LNP or Greens


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles