Tricks used in scams
Tricks and traps of scammers
use clever tricks to reel you in and get you to reply to their
email or not hang up the phone. Most scams seem like genuine offers
but they are carefully designed to trick you into giving away your
money or your personal details.
Here we break down some of the tactics scammers use so you are
aware of them and can be on guard.
Make you feel
Scammers use persuasive psychological tactics to make you part
with your money. Some may offer a free gift or assistance to make
you feel obliged to return the favour. Remember, you do not owe the
scammer anything so don't be pressured into giving them something
Get in before the offer
The terms 'last chance' or 'limited offer' are often used by
scammers to make you act fast. They don't want to give you any time
to check if their offer is real before you commit to it.
If you're being pressured to act fast, don't. This is one
of the biggest indicators that you are being scammed.
Become your friend
Scammers know that if they develop a friendly relationship with
you, you are more likely to listen to them and go along with
whatever they are suggesting. Some scammers access groups of people
in churches or community groups and gain their trust. While the
investment or offer appears to be going well, they can recruit new
victims on the testimony of other people already in the scheme.
Claim to be professionals
Scammers will say they are approved or associated with another
reputable organisation or government agency to convince you of
their legitimacy. They hope that you have heard of these
organisations so you will trust them. They might also say they are
a professional broker, portfolio manager or investment
dealer. Even if they sound professional and have slick brochures
and documents to send you, they are working to a carefully crafted
See our fake regulators and
exchanges webpage for more information.
Get you to agree
Scammers will get you to commit to something early in the
discussion so they can use it to get you to agree to something
else later. They do this to make you feel uneasy and to defend your
original actions. You need to tell them that just because you
agreed to something earlier doesn't mean you can't change your mind
about it later.
calls, text messages and emails
Scammers can call you endlessly or try to keep you on the phone
for a long time. They present you with promises of wealth or
opportunities lost if you do not take up the offer. Scammers will
not take no for an answer and might ask you about your worries to
reassure you. As long as they can keep you talking you have not
really said no.
Scammers can also send you text messages and emails that look
like they're from your bank. Don't respond to texts asking you to
follow a link and provide personal information (like account
numbers or personal details).
Incredible offers of
Scammers are clever at offering you incredible deals that
promise great returns with very little or no risk. But if it seems too good to be
true, it often is. See investment warnings for details on
schemes that may not be very good value for money.
Many scammers create professional-looking websites to prove to
you that their product is real and worth the money they want you to
pay. They can also send links to these websites in fraudulent
emails which look like they're from your bank or another business
you may deal with asking you to give up personal information.
Find out more about how fake websites work in investment
Fake social media
Scammers will create fake profiles using information they have
stolen or made up. The person may be someone you know and they will
send you a friend request or message, then ask for money to help
them with trouble they are having. They may know personal details
of your friends if they have hacked their accounts, and by
accepting their friend request they could gain access to your
personal information and steal your identity.
For more detailed information on the
psychological tricks used in scams, go to how scams work on
the ACCC's SCAMwatch website.
Last updated: 12 May 2017