Scams

Consumers urged to be wary of celebrity endorsement scams

People are increasingly being caught out by celebrity endorsement scams, with reports to Scamwatch increasing 400 per cent and losses increasing a staggering 3,800 per cent so far in 2018.

These scams often appear as online advertisements or promotional stories on social media or a seemingly legitimate, trustworthy website. They include fictitious quotes and doctored or out-of-context images of the celebrity, such as presenters from the TV show Shark Tank, promoting a product such as skin care creams, weight loss pills, or investment schemes.

Beware scammers wanting access to your computer and bank account

Scammers are increasingly catching out people by impersonating well-known businesses or the police so they can get access to computers and steal money or banking information. 

The ACCC’s Scamwatch website has recorded a significant spike in these types of scams, known as remote access scams, with more than 8000 reports recorded in 2018 so far and losses totalling $4.4 million. 

Beware investment wolves knocking at the door

Scamwatch is warning the Australian community to be wary about investment scams, with statistics revealing Australians are collectively losing $4.3 million a month to these scams.

In 2018, more than $26 million has been reported lost to investment scams—already 84 per cent of the total losses recorded in 2017. This represents an average month on month increase in losses of 117 per cent compared to last year.

Threat and kidnap scams target Chinese community

The ACCC’s Scamwatch service is warning the Chinese community in Australia to be wary about two frightening scams targeting them that involve threats of arrest, and extortion via fake kidnappings.

In 2018, Scamwatch has received nearly 1700 reports about these scams, with losses totalling $1.15 million. Losses have come from NSW, Victoria, Queensland or Western Australia; however the scam is targeting people nationwide.

Beware of scammers impersonating energy and telecommunications companies

The ACCC is warning consumers to beware of scammers impersonating energy and telecommunications providers and demanding payments.

Scamwatch has received 5000 reports of fake billing scams in the last 12 months, with reported losses of close to $8000.

“The scammers typically impersonate well known companies such as Origin, AGL, Telstra and Optus via email, to fool people into assuming the bills are real,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Don't fall for a scammer's puppy dog eyes

Scamwatch is warning people to watch out for scammers setting up fake ads pretending to sell adorable puppies, with more than $310,000 lost and 584 reports about this scam in the past 12 months.

“Puppy scammers play on people’s emotions who have their heart set on a particular breed. Once they see that cute puppy picture in an ad, they drop their guard and tend to miss the warning signs they’re dealing with a scammer,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Don't friend a scammer this Valentine's Day

The ACCC is warning people to be careful about who they ‘friend’ online this Valentine’s Day with stats showing people are most likely to be preyed upon by dating and romance scammers on social media sites.

Australians reported losses of $20.5 million to Scamwatch from dating and romance scams in 2017 with more than 3700 reports. These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. Women lost nearly twice as much money as men and people aged 45 and over are most likely to be targeted.