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This year’s theme is 'Be yourself. Don’t let a scammer be you' 

Scams Awareness Week 2020

Did you know that scams cost Australians, businesses, and the economy hundreds of millions of dollars each year and that’s just the ones reported?

As scammers become smarter and we continue to do more things online it’s important to understand how you can identify, protect from and report scams so others don’t fall victim.

Scams Awareness Week is a national ACCC campaign and this year’s theme 'Be yourself. Don’t let a scammer be you' focuses on personal information and identity crime and ways in which you can protect your personal and financial information in an increasingly digital environment.

All scams have the potential for identity theft, and Scams Awareness Week highlights the most common scams. Identity theft is a type of fraud that involves using someone else's identity to steal money or gain other benefits.

With your personal information, scammers can:

  • access and drain your bank account
  • open new bank accounts in your name and take out loans or lines of credit
  • take out phone plans and other contracts
  • purchase expensive goods in your name
  • steal your superannuation
  • gain access to your government online services
  • access your email to find more sensitive information
  • access your social media accounts and impersonate you to scam your family and friends.

Before stealing your identity scammers will target your personal information. Watch out for the following signs:

  • You receive an email, text or a phone call out of the blue for personal information.
  • You receive an email or text asking you to ‘validate’ or ‘confirm’ your personal details by clicking on a link or opening an attachment. The message may be poorly written or contain grammatical errors.
  • There are unexpected pop-ups on your computer or mobile device asking if you want to allow software to run.
  • You receive a friend request from someone you don’t know on social media.
  • Your mailbox has been broken into.

Warning signs that your identity has been compromised

  • You are unable to log into your social media or email account, or your profile has been logged into from an unusual location.
  • You notice that amounts of money go missing from your bank account without any explanation.
  • You are refused a financial service or an application for a loan or your credit card has been declined.
  • You receive bills, invoices or receipts addressed to you for goods or services you didn’t purchase yourself.
  • You are contacted by businesses or individuals who believe they have been dealing with you even though you have had no contact with them.

Have you been scammed?

If you think you have provided your account details, passport, tax file number, licence, Medicare or other personal identification details to a scammer, contact your bank, financial institution, or other relevant agencies immediately.

  • If you have concerns about your Sydney Mutual Bank account contact us on 13 61 91.
  • You can also contact iDcare – a free government-funded service which will work with you to develop a specific response plan to your situation and support you through the process. Visit the iDcare website or call 1300 IDCARE (432273)
  • We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.
  • Make your friends and family aware of scams. Awareness is our best defence against scams.
  • Visit Scamwatch for more information or subscribe to the Scamwatch email alerts.

© Commonwealth of Australia.