What the ACCC does

  • We deliver education and awareness raising campaigns.
  • We provide up-to-date information on scams through our Scamwatch website, social media and email alerts.
  • We work with other agencies, law enforcement and private sector to share intelligence and disrupt scams where possible.
  • We have received government funding to build a National Anti-Scam Centre starting on 1 July 2023.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don’t track down scammers or recover money lost to scammers.
  • We don’t give legal advice or prosecute scammers.
  • We can’t tell you if a business is legitimate or a scam.

On this page

If you're a victim of a scam

  1. Contact your bank immediately.
  2. Seek support from IDCARE.
  3. Report the scam to Scamwatch. We use reports to identify new scams, disrupt scams, and warn consumers and business. We share some scam reports with law enforcement, banks, and other companies who can take steps to stop scammers.
  4. Find out where to get help through Scamwatch. Sometimes you'll need to take steps to protect yourself from further scams.
Report a scam to Scamwatch

What makes something a scam

A scam is a way of tricking people

A scam is a way of tricking people into handing over money or personal details.

Scams constantly change as scammers take advantage of new technology, new products and services, and local events or crises.

Scammers are getting smarter, and anyone can be a victim of a scam.

It can be hard to tell if something is a scam

People sometimes say they’ve been ‘scammed’ when they’re disappointed with a product or service they’ve received from a real business. But a situation like this is probably not a scam.

If someone has a problem with something bought from a real business, they can ask the business to resolve the problem.

With a scam, there's no point doing this, because the whole purpose is to trick the consumer or business.

    Types of scams

    The most well-known scams that you may come across include:

    • Dating and romance: The scammer creates a fake profile to lure you into a relationship, then asks you for money or to invest in something.
    • Investment scams: The scammer gets money from you for a fake investment opportunity.
    • Buying or selling: The scammer creates fake online stores or classified ads to sell you a product that doesn’t exist. Scammers may also send fake invoices for services or products that you did not order.
    • Attempt to gain your personal information: The scammer tricks you into handing over banking or personal details, then uses these details to steal money or gain other like taking out loan in your name. These scams include hacking, phishing and remote access scams and identity theft.
    • Threats and extortion: The scammer claims you have an unpaid bill, fine or debt, and uses threats to make you pay them. The scammer may pretend to be from the police or well-known fraud department and trick you into giving your personal or banking information or access to your computer or device.
    • Job and employment: The scammer promises you a high-paying job that doesn’t exist or a money-making opportunity in the form of a ponzi or pyramid scheme.
    • Unexpected money: The scammer tells you that you’re entitled to money or valuable assets, but must make upfront payments to get them.
    • Travel, prizes and lottery scams: The scammer tricks you into giving them money or personal details to get a prize from a lottery, sweepstake or competition.
    • Fake charities: The scammer convinces you to pay money to a fake charity.

    The little black book of scams

    The little black book of scams is one of our most popular publications. It contains the scammers' black list to help you identify and avoid the 10 most common methods scammers use.

    Targeting scams report

    Targeting scams: report on scam activity is produced each year and explains key trends in scam activity.

    Protect yourself from scams

    While anyone can be a victim of a scam, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

    Be on the lookout

    The most important thing is to know that scams exist and be on the lookout for them.

    • Always make sure you know who you are dealing with or talking to. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
    • If you are not sure that an offer is genuine, do not go through with the purchase or share personal details.
    • Check if the company is registered through the ABN lookup website.
    • Read reviews of the business and check for signs that it could be a scam.
    • Use a credit card rather than a debit card or bank transfer so that you can ask your bank for a chargeback.

    Keep up to date at Scamwatch

    The ACCC’s Scamwatch website has up-to-date information about scams and how to get help if you have been impacted by a scam.

    Learn how to protect yourself at Scamwatch

    Subscribe to Scamwatch scam alerts

    Sign up to receive email alerts on the latest scams affecting Australians.

    Sign up to Scamwatch scam alerts

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