Protecting yourself from scams
Scammers know all kinds of tricks to get you to hand over your
money. Here are some practical things you can do to protect
yourself and stay one step ahead of the scammers.
Ask the right questions
To check the legitimacy
of someone making you an offer, ask them:
- What is your name and what company do you represent?
- Who owns your company?
- What is your address?
If they avoid answering
these questions, the deal they are offering you is probably a scam.
Hang up the phone, do not respond to the email or stop dealing with
the person. Even if they answer all these questions, be cautious
and do your own checks on their answers.
Do your own checks
It is illegal for a foreign business to sell overseas
investments to Australians if they do not have an AFS licence.
Australian companies also need an AFS licence to legally sell
investments in Australia.
Always do your own research on a company before you deal with
them. You should seek independent professional or legal advice so
you are not relying solely on the information the potential scammer
Check the company's Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence
number if they are trying to sell you an investment opportunity. Do
this by searching ASIC Connect's Professional Registers.
Find out what an AFS Licence means.
If the company does not have an AFS licence or says they do not
need one, do not deal with them and report them to ASIC.
You can also check ASIC's list of companies you should not
deal with to see if they are on the list.
Protect your personal
Do not give out any personal, banking or credit card information
to anyone who makes contact with you. Check your bank and credit
card statements every month. Destroy all documents with your
personal information on them. Choose passwords that are hard to
work out and never share your passwords with anyone else.
Case study: Mark loses his money to a phone scam
Mark got a call from a person who claimed to be
from his bank, who said his bank account was at risk. They asked
him to move his money into an overseas bank account to protect it.
Mark thought this sounded a bit extreme but said he would think
about it.The person on the phone pressured Mark and told him he
needed to move his funds or he could lose them for good. Mark
decided to transfer the money to protect his savings.
A few days later he called his bank asking when he could move
his money back to his Australian bank account. The bank said they
had no record of the call and that his funds had never been at
risk. Mark had been scammed. Because he had transferred his money
overseas he couldn't get it back. Mark lost all the money he had
Secure your computer and
Delete and do not open any unsolicited or suspicious emails you
receive. Enable security settings on your computer and mobile
devices and install current anti-virus programs.
Never send any personal information via text message. If you get
a text message from your bank asking you to follow a link be wary.
A bank will never ask you to send personal information via email or
text and will never ask for your PIN or CCV numbers.
For more tips see protect your identity and protecting yourself
from online scams.
You can put your name on the Do Not Call Register to remove
your name from telemarketing phone lists. This should reduce the
number of telemarketing calls you receive but will not stop
scammers from phoning you as they do not follow the rules set by
Be on guard about every offer that is made to
you. Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Your
best defence against scams is to hang up the phone, delete the
email or text or destroy the letter if you think it looks even
vaguely like a scam.
Last updated: 03 May 2016