Learn how to avoid scammers with this Little Black Book
THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's recently updated pocket-book guide, Little Black Book of Scams, is the ultimate easy to use, free tool to help you learn about and hopefully then avoid scams.
The ACCC's Scamwatch team said everyone was susceptible to a scam.
The type of scams that are often encountered are:
- An offer that seems too good to be true.
- A phone call to help fix your computer.
- A threat to pay money you do not owe.
- An alert from your bank or telecommunications provider about a problem with your account.
- An invitation to 'befriend' or connect online.
"They are getting smarter, moving with the times to take advantage of new technology, new products or services and major events to create believable stories that will convince you to part with your money or personal details," Scamwatch warned.
The comprehensive pocket guide offers users the "secrets and tactics that scammers don't want you to know".
Types of scams covered in the guide are:
- Dating and romance.
- Threat and penalty.
- Unexpected money.
- Prize and lottery.
- Job and employment.
- Online shopping, classifieds and auction.
- Small business.
- Scams targeting computers and mobile devices.
There wouldn't be too many people who haven't been exposed to one, two or more scams from the above list.
Scamwatch said most scams followed the same pattern, going through three stages - approach, communication and payment.
"Understanding the basic parts of a scam will help you to avoid the current crop of scams and to be on guard against new scams that emerge in the future."
The downside is once personal details are given out or money handed over, it's unlikely the money will be returned.
There are several steps that can be taken straight away to limit the damage and protect you from further loss:
- Contact your bank or credit union immediately.
- Recover your stolen identity by contacting IDCARE at www.idcare.org or call 1300 432 273. This is a free, government-funded service that provides support to victims of identity crime.
- Apply for a Commonwealth Victims' Certificate, which will help support a victim identity theft claim, at www.ag.gov.au or call 02 6141 6666.
- Contact a counselling or support service.
- Contact Lifeline on 13 1114, Beyondblue on 1300 224 636 or Kids helpline on 1800 551 800.
- Contact Financial Counselling Australia on 1800 007 007 if you are in financial distress.
- For scams websites or social media platforms, report it to the site so it can be investigated and removed.
- If scammers are impersonating a legitimate organisation like a government department or bank, let that organisation know.
Scams should also be reported to Scamwatch on www.scamwatch.gov.au where they can be added to the latest list of scams.
Other agencies where scams reports should be lodged are listed in the Little Black Book of Scams.
To stay secure and safe online, the Australian Government has the following online resources freely available -