What to do if you've been scammed

Steps to deal with the fallout of a scam

Think you have been scammed? It can be a confusing time, but it's important to act fast to help stop the scammers, and get help if you need it. Here are the steps to take if you suspect a scam.

Act fast if you think you've been scammed

Here are some things you should do straight away if you think a scammer has targeted you:

  • Delete and block all contact from the scammer.
  • Call your bank (or the business the scam is pretending to represent) to report the scam.
  • Check your bank account for any suspicious transactions. See unauthorised and mistaken transactions for more information.
  • Ask the bank or company to freeze your accounts if the scammer has accessed any money.
  • Scan your computer for viruses.
  • File a police report if the scammer has accessed any money.
  • Get a free copy of your credit report. This will allow you to see who has recently checked your credit history, and whether anyone is using your name to run up debts.
  • Warn your family and friends about the scam.
  • Report the scam to the relevant agency to help stop the scammer.

Where to report the scam

Different agencies deal with different scams. Here's a list of who deals with what.

Type of scam Who to report the scam to

Financial and investment scams
- including those involving superannuation, managed funds, financial advice, financial products, insurance

Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Report misconduct to ASIC

Banking and credit card scams Your bank or financial institution
Your local police

Tax scams
- or identity theft involving tax file numbers

Australian Taxation Office
ATO: Verify or report a scam
or phone 1800 060 062

Scams from overseas or interstate
- including false billing or chain letter scams

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC: Report a scam

Scams from your state or territory Your state's fair trading or consumer affairs office 
Spam emails

Australian Communications and Media Authority
ACMA: how can I report spam 

Spam emails that request your personal or banking information should also be reported to your bank (only use contact details that do not appear in the email).

 Fraud, theft and other crimes  Your local police station or the Australian Federal Police
 Not sure what type of scam it is?

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
SCAMwatch: Report a scam

Cybercrime

Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network ACORN.gov.au

Recovering your losses

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.

Unfortunately, most victims don't get their money back. This is because it's often very difficult to track down the person or group that has scammed you. If you have sent money to an overseas company, Australian government agencies cannot help you get your money back as those companies are out of their jurisdiction.

But it is still important that you report scams to help stop them spreading.

Avoid follow-up scams

If you've been caught up in a scam, you may be the target of a follow-up scam. Hang up or block emails or text messages from a scammer if they try the following tricks:

  • Offering to swap your investment for another one to recover your losses
  • Telling you to 'hang in there' as your investment will increase in value soon
  • Offering to buy your shares at a premium but asking you to pay a fee to have 'restrictions' on the shares lifted
  • Asking you to pay a fee for a fake share certificate
  • Claiming they can recover your losses for a fee they say is a tax, deposit or refundable insurance bond
  • Asking you to pay for travel and accommodation costs to find the scammer who has taken your money.

Support after being scammed

Being scammed can have a devastating effect on your life and can change your relationships with your family and friends. Here is a list of counselling services and financial support providers that can help you at this difficult time.

Counselling services

  • Lifeline - for emotional support call Lifeline's crisis support service on 13 11 14 or their crisis support chat service or go straight to Lifeline.
  • beyondblue - for help with depression or anxiety go to beyondblue.

Financial support

Being scammed can be devastating, but help is out there. Reporting the scam will help take one step towards stopping the scammers.


Related links


Last updated: 31 Oct 2018