The number of scam phone calls is on the rise and in 2020 alone Australians were scammed out of almost $36m*.
Scam calls can take many forms, with some scams much more sophisticated than others. Scammers try to get your money, either by asking for bank details or getting you to disclose enough personal information so they can use it to access your bank accounts or take out finance products in your name.
Here are some of the most common phone scams:
Call from the Government or other Official Body
Scammers can use technology to make it look as if the number they are calling from is a legitimate organisation, such as the ATO, Centrelink, even your local police! They may then say that you owe a fine and need to pay it or you will be arrested.
If you get a call you have any doubt may not be genuine, hang up and call the organisation back on a number that you have looked up from a legitimate source, not a number the caller has given you.
One Ring Scam
You receive a missed call from an overseas number and call it back. The call is charged at a premium rate and the longer the call the more money the scammers make, so they will try to keep you on the call as long as possible.
Online Shopping or Parcel Delivery
Callers claim you have a parcel delivery but the postage has not been fully paid, and they may ask for payment to release the parcel. Scammers may also tell you an online shopping order you have made is unavailable and say that they need your bank or card details to provide you with a refund.
Text Message Scams
Scammers can also seek information by text message, so if you receive a strange or unexpected message, even if it looks like it is from a genuine source, check it with the organisation directly, do not reply or action the text.
Call from a Phone or Internet Provider
Another common scam is someone claiming there is a problem with your internet or phone, telling you your computer has a virus and offering to help. Never ever follow the instructions of a caller asking you to make changes to your computer, visit a website or provide your account details.
HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED
1. Don’t answer calls from numbers you do not recognise, if the caller is genuine, they’ll leave a message.
2. If you have any doubt a caller is not genuine, hang up and look for a legitimate number for the company the
person claims to be calling from and call them back.
3. Never provide your bank, card or personal details in response to an unexpected phone call or message.
4. Never allow a caller to take control of your computer, you could be hacking your own computer for them.
5. Report any scam calls to scamwatch.gov.au
*ABC and Scamwatch