Six scams to watch out for in 2016

Keep an eye out for the latest scams to stay safe.

Hacker sits behind a computer running scams

Start the New Year on the right foot by getting a step ahead of the scammers. Keeping an eye out for these latest scams will help you to keep your money and personal details safe.

Fake parcel delivery notifications

One of the biggest scams of 2015 was the fake parcel delivery notification, which delivered malware in the disguise of an Auspost tracking notification. With online shopping growing more popular every year, this scam is probably not going to be going anywhere anytime soon. Always be vigilant if you receive an email from Australia Post and if you’re in doubt simply call or visit your local post office, where someone can verify the report. Or you can check up on Australia Post’s scam alerts page.  

Macs being targeted

Macs are becoming more popular, and if you use an Apple computer and don’t have virus protection, you might want to consider getting some as 2015 saw Mac computers receive more malware attacks than in the last five years combined. 

Phone and ISP scams

Whether it’s a call or an email from your phone or internet provider, if it seems suspicious, hang up/close the email straight away. Now look up the phone number for your provider on either Google or in a phone book; never click the link to its website in the email, or call the number listed as it’s probably fraudulent. 

Now you can call your ISP or phone provider and explain the situation. If you do this, the worst-case scenario is that you hang up on a genuine Optus or Telstra technical support employee, which is nothing compared to the hassle of a computer hack or stolen credit card details.

Social network sellers

Selling items over Facebook or other social networks is becoming more common, probably due to the friendly nature of the transactions. However, like all good things, this easy going process is often taken advantage of by unscrupulous people who may request payment in advance, and then disappear from the social network. If you don’t feel confident with the transaction (for example if their Facebook account doesn’t look legitimate), simply don’t take the risk, stick to websites with buyer protection, such as ebay. 

Emails pretending to be from your bank

A scam that sadly never goes out of fashion: the fake bank email. As with the phone and ISP scams above, make sure you proceed with caution and never follow links or call the phone numbers listed directly in the email. Also, be on the lookout for website domains which are a little off. For example, Australian websites almost always end in ‘’, so if you’re given a link heading to, rather than, you should close the email and contact your bank either in person, or via a phone number you know is genuine. 

PayPal gifts

On the topic of suspicious internet sales, when dealing with a stranger on PayPal you should never send a payment marked as a gift. Scammers often say to send the money as a gift because you don’t have to pay as much in transaction fees, which is true. But the reason you don’t have to pay any fees is because there is absolutely no buyer protection for money sent as a gift. 

Scamwatch is a great website for staying in the know when it comes to scams. 

Do you have any tips for your fellow readers to stay in the know and out of trouble when it comes to scams? Have you received any scam emails recently? 


    To make a comment, please register or login
    5th Jan 2016
    All banks will tell you they won't ask you to disclose your details or password/pin via email or phone. Just go through your normal online banking which will have contact details or go into a branch if you prefer.
    5th Jan 2016
    There's the other well worn scam supposedly from Pay Pal. You get an e-mail saying your Pay Pal account has been suspended because there are some details missing. Just 'click here' to put your details in to sort it all out.

    Problem is, I don't have a Pay Pal account!!!
    5th Jan 2016
    My daughter in law just got scammed by trying to buy a puppy over the internet. It all seemed ttoo good to be true. They promised to airlift the puppy to our door with its pedigree papers etc. All for $800.00. When it didn't arrive she rang to check and they then asked for a further $1000.00 for the freight. This is when she became suspicious and refused further contact and notified the police fraud squad.
    5th Jan 2016
    Just had someone try the reclaim scam. Landline call informing me the Federal govt want to pay me $7,000+, strong asian accent, hung up when I asked for some proof that they were from the 'federal govt'. They must either be stupid or think we are!

    5th Jan 2016
    ah med, with his nursing diploma ad in today's YLC dog video section is one of these social media scammers. Never heard of this clown until today when his ad went into this social site.
    5th Jan 2016
    I'm retired, have a reasonable amount of spare time, and feel for those who get ripped off by the scammers, particularly those pretending to be from Windows - they should say Microsoft, the idiots!
    When they ring me, the first thing I do is turn off my modem. Next I waste as much of their time by asking where they are calling from, then ask for the for the name of the person to whom I am speaking. They eventually give me a fake name - a man with a heavy heavy Indian accent was John Smith, the supervisor, also with the same accent was Alan Gray.
    Eventually I go along with all of their instructions, they sound puzzled, and ask me to try again. I even call back the keystrokes that I am inputting, which puzzles them even more.
    After I have spent around half an hour preventing them from scamming someone else and I am sick of the game, I get rid of them with any excuse. The best one is to say "Oh, by the way, am I supposed to have my modem on?" They instantly blow a fuse and hang up.
    7th Jan 2016
    Hmm great minds think alike I use a similar routine the only improvement could be if they contacted me just before or just after you - we are wicked
    7th Jan 2016
    Thank you for the info. Feina
    29th Jan 2016
    Get the phone calls? If you are able to, answer in a very thick Chinese accent with ''your name (or whatever you want)' chinese restaurant, may I take your order'. They will disconnect the call quick smart. A very old ruse I have used for quite a number of years.
    8th Jun 2016
    I got a similar type of call on Tuesday 7 June 2016. The voice said that if I didn't do such and such I would be prosecuted for tax evasion. Couldn't understand the male voice. I thought it was a Phillipine accent.

    Funny, only last week I had arranged with the ATO to pay off by instalments a small amount (big for me as a pensioner/part-time worker) owing from my last tax return.

    I contacted the ATO and they said they were aware of this scam and do everything they can to advise the public about such scams.

    17th Mar 2016
    Love the answers!
    Alaskan Princess
    20th May 2016
    Yesterday I receved an email supposedly from the ATO. It said I had a tax return amount waiting for me but wanted details of where to send or deposit it. Unfortunately I have deleted it so you cannot follow it up on my computer but someone else may get it. (I really am owed money by the ATO from an old business but because we were not earning at the time, even though we spent money to keep a boat we had for sale in good condition, we could not put in tax returns for those years and actually lost money).
    14th Jun 2016
    This may be tht wrong approach but if the phone call has no name to it I do not answer!
    24th Jun 2016
    Yes and"Normal" on line Banking can be "Hacked" that's why I don't do it! I speak to hundreds of Bank Account customers of various banks every week,you would be amazed how many Accounts are Hacked.

    1st Nov 2016
    We have had a few calls lately to tell us we have a computer problem which they have identified and will fix if we follow their instructions. These are from unidentified numbers and appear to be from uncommon countries
    26th Nov 2016
    There is a scam from a supposedly travel agent . Package deals from $299 for 6 nights hotel accommodation. Looks legit on website. Follow up disconnected phone. Operating from a residential home in NSW . Usually calls on home phone. Prime marketing is what the salesman calls themselves. TravelnTours Web page ..
    28th Apr 2017
    I must get on average about 20-30 scam emails a day, you just have to be vigilant and realise that it is up to you to make them fail, if you want something for nothing, the scams will certainly take you in.
    Also, I never press any instructions to stop the messages or delete in the actual email, delete 'only' through your own delete option, not theirs.
    22nd May 2017
    As a retired computer tech I am usually amused at the antics of the so called computer fixer calls I get. Firstly so that everyone can be made aware, no-one out there knows whether you have a computer, or a problem unless you tell them. As soon as someone mentions a computer problem on your end just hang up! If, like Maxchugg's comment below,you want to waste a bit of time and theirs, here's a few more tips. Try to sound as though you are a complete moron when it comes to technology. Keep them repeating instructions til they hang up. I had one once to my shop so when they told me I had a problem I asked which of the 15 running computers was the one at fault. Would you believe after a hesitant pause she said "All of them"! Most of these callers are going to be concentrating on Microsoft based systems. String them along for 10 minutes and then tell them you have a Mac. Instant hang-up. Do the same thing and then say you only run Linux. 90% won't even know what Linux is! OR, saving the best for last, After 5 minutes or so, tell them that you are from the Australian Federal Fraud Police unit and that their call has successfully now been traced. Instant hang-up and hopefully frantic departure from their current abode. Ahh life's great sometimes. HaHa

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