It’s evident that cybercrime is on the rise, however last year was particularly eye opening with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commissions (ACCC Scamwatch) announcing a grim $3.1 billion financial loss due to scams. This figure was unexpected, and most alarmingly an 80% increase to the financial loss Australian’s experienced in 2021.
With fraudsters becoming more malicious and cunning, it’s considerably important to raise awareness of scams to protect yourself and your loved ones. In our latest blog, we cover the most common types of scams and ways you can identify them.
The main goal of a scammer is to steal money, and this is attempted through various avenues. Whilst a significant number of scams take place online through email, social media, and websites, they can also present themselves through text and phone calls. Scamwatch has reported that 1 in 3 scams happen by phone, which cost Australians $141 million in 2022. It’s during these encounters that scammers claim to be trusted organisations, such as banks, law enforcement, law firms and telecommunication providers.
Email scams follow a similar format as they also appear to be sent from well-known organisations and often look realistic due to branding. According to Scamwatch, text and SMS scams were the most reported contact method in 2022. These types of scams can often be difficult to spot with fraudsters managing to copy contact numbers and sender profiles of known individuals or trusted businesses.
There are several types of scams, however the following are some of the most common you may come across:
Investment scams present themselves as a fast way to make a good money with little risk, however the funds you invest are stolen by fraudsters. According to Scamwatch, investment scams have the highest loss of money compared to any other type in Australia and can be difficult to recognise. A warning sign of an investment scam is that victims are often pressured into making a decision with time-sensitive offers.
A job or employment scam is a fraudulent arrangement where cyber criminals promise high salary jobs from reputable companies; however victims are tricked into sharing money or personal information. An obvious sign that an opportunity might be a scam is if it appears too good to be true or you’re required to pay a fee, which they may frame as being for training or equipment.
One of the best ways to identify scams is to educate yourself and understand what to look out for, which can be significantly helpful in preventing you from falling victim in the future. Scamwatch offers insightful advice on how to recognise scams.
Common signs of a scam can include:
Identifying scams can sometimes be challenging due to how legitimate they can appear. If in doubt, it’s best for you to check the source of the communication or contact the official organisation for clarification.