Tertiary education program

Scams

Every year tens of millions of dollars are lost to scammers. Scammers go to great lengths to convince you that they are legitimate and genuine, and are using increasingly sophisticated means to target victims. They use modern technology to create fake websites, emails and invoices that seem legitimate to even the most astute business person.

What is a scam?

A scam is a form of dishonest action. Scams targeting businesses may succeed because they look like the real thing or because the scammer is able to take advantage of a busy office environment. Knowing some of the common tricks used by scammers could help you avoid being scammed.

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Scam or fraud?

The terms 'scam' and 'fraud' are sometimes used interchangeably. Both refer to activity aimed to mislead, deceive and take advantage of a victim.

In scams, active participation by the victim is necessary before the deception can take place. Victims are encouraged to interact with the scammer and unwittingly participate in the scam activity. For a scam to be successful, it relies on a willing victim. A scam is also an externally generated deception. The scammer is not part of the business that is being targeted.

In contrast, fraud generally occurs within a business organisation and can take place without the knowledge, involvement or participation of the victim.