Scams & warnings
Keep your money safe
Scammers work in clever ways to convince you to
give them your money. They might approach you in person, over the
phone, through the mail or via email.
Fake bank/phishing scams
These scams come by email and look like they are from your bank,
credit card company or mobile phone company. The email usually asks
you to send your account details, and sometimes your PIN, by return email or through a
website. This is called 'phishing' as the scammer is 'fishing' for
Don't give out any personal information over the internet or
over the phone. Your bank will never email or phone you to ask for
your PIN or security details. Always keep your PIN and security
details a secret.
More information on requests for
account information (phishing).
Identity fraud is a type of fraud that involves the theft of
your personal information including your name, date of birth,
address and other details. Fraudsters then use this information to
open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, start an illegal business
or apply for a passport. Your details may also be used to commit
serious crimes, such as money laundering and even terrorist
How to protect yourself:
- Never give your personal details to people you don't
know. If you receive a call from someone who claims to be
from your bank or any other organisation, don't give them your
details. Call the organisation in question to check it is really
them calling. Never click on a link or call a phone number in an
email - use a phone directory to look up the correct number.
- Check your bank and superannuation statements.
If you see any unusual transactions, contact your bank, credit card
provider or super fund immediately.
- Destroy personal information. Shred or cut up
your bills, statements and expired cards to prevent thieves from
- Lock your letter box. Secure your letter box
with a lock and collect your mail regularly.
- Make your passwords hard to guess. Use a
combination of numbers and letters and change your passwords
For more information see identity fraud.
These scams are when someone comes to your house offering to
sell you something. If the salesperson pressures you to buy,
you should ask them for documents about the product and tell them
you'll think about it. Don't be pressured into buying anything. See
sales for more information.
Early release of super
Some scammers encourage people to roll their super into a
self-managed super fund (SMSF) so they can access their super money
early to pay off their debts. This is illegal. If you do this you
could lose your hard-earned super savings, and may also have to pay
tax penalties. If you receive an offer to access your super through
an illegal scheme, contact ASIC's Indigenous Help Line on
1300 365 957 or ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630 or
the Australian Taxation Office on 13 10 30.
More information on superannuation scams and getting
If you get a phone call, email or letter from a stranger asking
if you would like to invest in a company, it could be a scam.
Scammers often make the company look 'real' - there may be a
website and documents that look official but are completely
If someone offers you an investment over the phone, ask the
person these questions:
- What is your name and what company do you represent?
- Who owns your company?
- Does your company have an Australian Financial Services licence
and what is the licence number?
- What is your address?
If they try to avoid answering these questions, it is probably a
scam. Hang up the phone, do not respond to the email or stop
dealing with the person.
Check our list of companies you should not
deal with that aren't licenced by ASIC. You can
also check ASIC Connect's Professional Registers for
a list of companies that hold an AFS Licence. Find out what an AFS
Never agree to anything without checking the company first. If
you are unsure, ring ASIC's Indigenous Hotline on 1300
365 957 or ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630.
More information on investment scams.
How to recognise a scam
- It looks like the real thing but isn't -
It can be hard to tell what is the real deal and what isn't.
Scammers often use glossy brochures or logos from legitimate
- The reward seems too good to be true -
Scammers target people who might be struggling a bit with their
money by telling them the scam will change their life forever.
These 'get rich quick' schemes might look good but in reality only
the scammer makes money.
- You need to sign up right away - The scammer
will pressure you by saying you have to decide on the spot. Never
agree to this. Always ask for documents and read them thoroughly
before you make a decision.
What to do if you've been
Here are some things you should do if you have been scammed:
- Contact your bank - If you have sent money or
information to a scammer, contact your bank immediately. They may
be able to stop a money transfer or close your account if the
scammer has your account details.
- Report the scam - If it is a financial scam
relating to insurance, superannuation, investments, or financial
advice you should report it to ASIC. Call ASIC's Indigenous
Hotline on 1300 365 957 or
ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630. All other scams should be
reported to the ACCC'S SCAMwatch website or phone their Infocentre
on 1300 795 995 for help with reporting a scam.
- Avoid follow up scams - If you have been
caught up by a scam you may be the target of a follow-up scam. Hang
up on a scammer if they try offering to swap your investment for
another one or to recover your losses.
- Get help - If you've been scammed and lost a
lot of money you may need some help to get back on track. See
with money for contact details of people who can help
- Visit SCAMwatch - The ACCC's SCAMwatch website
has more detailed information on action you can take after being
scammed, on their have you been scammed webpage.
For more information see report a scam.
Watch out for scams. They look legitimate, but
you could - and probably will - lose all your money.
Last updated: 14 Jun 2016