Scams

Beware opening a scammer's con this Christmas

The ACCC is warning the community to be wary of scammers trying to ruin their Christmas holidays.

“Scammers often try to take advantage of people during the busy Christmas period and prey on our vulnerabilities at this time of year. For example, they may take advantage of you looking for a good deal on a family holiday, searching for a loved one’s present at an online store, or even that you’re expecting a present from someone through the post.”

Watch out for three common holiday season scams:

Watch out for scammers when going online

This Stay Smart Online Week, the ACCC is warning the community to watch out for common online scams they might encounter.

The online sphere – email, the internet, social media and mobile apps – has overtaken telephones as scammers’ preferred tool of the trade to contact potential victims. In 2017, the ACCC’s Scamwatch site has received more than 51,000 reports of scammers trying to con people online. Online scam losses total nearly $37 million so far in 2017, with people aged 45 to 54 most likely to lose money.

Don't gift a scammer iTunes cards

The ACCC is warning people to be on the lookout for scammers who are trying to con their victims into paying for scams with Apple iTunes gift cards.

During 2017 to date, reports to the ACCC’s Scamwatch show 1236 people lost nearly $540,000 to scammers using gift cards as payments.

This is a growing trend: in the 2015-16 financial year losses were about $480,000.

“Scammers are increasingly getting their victims to pay with iTunes gift cards as they can quickly on-sell them and pocket the money,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Watch out for NBN scams

The ACCC is warning the community that scammers are pretending to be from NBN to con victims out of their money and personal information.

Scamwatch has received 316 complaints this year about scammers impersonating NBN with nearly $28,000 reported lost.

“Scammers are increasingly using trusted government brands like NBN to trick people into falling for scams. Their goal is always to either get hold of your money or personal information,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

The three common scams reported to Scamwatch that involve scammers impersonating NBN are:

Beware high risk, no reward investment scams

The ACCC is warning the community to watch out for investment scammers who promise the world but leave their victims with broken dreams and empty bank accounts.

“In the first half of 2017, Australians have reported losing over $13 million to investment scams to the ACCC’s Scamwatch website, making it the most profitable of all the current scams. It is likely that losses are much higher as many victims do not report scams or contact other authorities,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Businesses lost an average of $10,000 to scams in 2016

Nearly 6000 businesses reported being targeted by scams in 2016 according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Targeting Scams report, with losses totalling around $3.8 million, an increase of almost 31 per cent.

The highest losses were to computer hacking, fake investment schemes and buying and selling scams, according to reports made to Scamwatch over the past year.