Different types of scams and how to identify them

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. 

Ways scammers can get hold of you

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.

What are common types of scams?

There are several types of scams, however the following are some of the most common you may come across: 


Phishing is used to gain access to your personal information. This can include passwords and credit card details. Fraudsters deviously convince you to reveal this information by sending emails or texts from trusted sources, such as banks, which may redirect you to a fake login page. By entering your details, cybercriminals may be able to gain access to your accounts.


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. 

Product and service

These scams involve fake websites selling products at a significantly low price. These websites appear as a replica of a trusted retailer’s by using their branding and offering their products. Service scams can follow a similar arrangement or even be advertised on social media. The scammers will attempt to persuade you to pay for the service upfront.

Remote access

Cybercriminals pose as reputable companies technology support representatives and will often claim your device has a problem or a virus. To help fix this “issue”, they request remote access to your device by sending you software to download or a link to click on. By gaining access to your device, your personal information and documents can be compromised.

How can I identify a scam?

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:

  • The offer is too good to be true.
  • You’re pressured to act quickly.
  • Unusual and unexpected requests for personal information and payments.
  • Spelling and grammar errors.
  • Unusual email addresses.

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. 

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