This section of the website explains how scams work, how to
identify different scams and what to do if you have been scammed.
Most importantly, we tell you how to avoid getting caught up in a
As ASIC only deals with scams involving investments,
superannuation, managed funds, financial advice or insurance, this
section of the website mainly deals with those types of scams. But
we do tell you where to go for information on other types of
You can also check ASIC lists to check up on
people, companies, schemes and personal property.
If the scam you see is not a financial scam, there are other
government agencies that can help you. The ACCC's SCAMwatch
website is a good place to start looking for information on
Here is a list of scams that other government agencies can help
- Money transfer requests: These scams involve
promises of huge rewards if you help someone transfer money by
paying fees or giving them your bank account details. These are
also called Nigerian scams. Or you may be asked to transfer money
in exchange for an inheritance or other large windfall. Treat these
offers as a scam and report it to the ACCC. Never send money
or personal information to someone you don't know. See the ACCC's
SCAMwatch webpages on Nigerian scams and inheritance scams.
- Lotteries and fake prizes: These scams involve
letters or emails saying you have won a lottery or prize and you
need to send money or your personal details to claim your
'winnings'. Visit the ACCC's SCAMwatch webpage on unexpected prize and lottery scams.
- Mobile phone scams: These include misleading
offers for 'free' or cheap ringtones that end up being a
subscription or premium rate service, and mysterious text messages
or SMS competitions that can cost a lot of money if you reply to
them. For more information, see the ACCC's SCAMwatch webpage on mobile premium services scams and the
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman webpage on the complaints they
- Chain letters and pyramid schemes: Chain
letter scams falsely promise financial or other benefits for a
small cost if you forward letters via the post or sometimes by
email. With pyramid schemes, you pay to become a member, but the
only way to recover your money is to convince others to join up and
also pay money. These schemes fail when the supply of 'victims'
dries up. See the ACCC's SCAMwatch webpage on pyramid schemes. If the pyramid scheme
involves selling shares or investments, report it to ASIC.
- Tax scams: Scam emails, SMS messages and phone
calls at tax time can look or sound very convincing. They may offer
you an unexpected refund or grant and ask you to provide personal
details, credit card information or money. The Australian Taxation
Office (ATO) will never contact you asking for personal or credit
card details. Visit the ATO's information on verifying and reporting tax-related scams.
- Dating and romance scams: These scams occur on
dating websites where the person you meet online asks you to send
them money for bogus but highly emotional reasons. Visit the ACCC's
SCAMwatch webpage on dating and romance scams.
- Charity scams: Scammers may set up fake
websites or call you pretending to be from a charity to get your
money or credit card details. See the ACCC's SCAMwatch webpage on
- Job and employment scams: Employment
opportunities that promise huge incomes with little work, usually
by asking you to transfer money for someone else or recruit new
victims, are another type of scam. Scammers 'guarantee' you a job
or certain level of income and trick you into paying an up-front
fee for unnecessary work materials. See the ACCC's SCAMwatch
webpage on job and employment scams.
- Small business scams (false billing): Small
business scams include bills for advertising or directory listings
that you never ordered, dodgy office supply offers and false claims
of government requirements needing you to send money. Visit the
ACCC's SCAMwatch webpage on small business scams.
- Spam emails or unwanted telemarketing calls:
To reduce spam emails or to stop unwanted telemarketing, visit the
Australian Communications and Media Authority webpage on spam or
the Do not call register.
Last updated: 31 Oct 2018