how well can you spot a scam? ACCC National Scam Awareness Week

Australians are set to lose a record $532 million to scams by the end of the year.

“Many people are confident they would never fall for a scam but often it’s this sense of confidence that scammers target,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“People need to update their idea of what a scam is so that we are less vulnerable. Scammers are professional businesses dedicated to ripping us off.

“They have call centres with convincing scripts, staff training programs, and corporate performance indicators their ’employees’ need to meet.”

As part of National Scam Awareness Week, the ACCC is urging consumers to test their scams knowledge.

Take our quiz below and see if you can spot what makes the example below scams. You will find the answers at the bottom of the article.

1. Phishing scam: Bank SMS

You’ve decided to buy a Dachshund puppy and see one for sale on a classified website. The ad is posted by someone claiming to be a reputable breeder, with the dog being offered at an amazing price. Can you spot the four indications this is a scam?

4. Phishing scam: Mail delivery

It’s not uncommon for scammers to mimic trusted brands to trick victims. This Australian Post email claims there has been a failed delivery and asks the recipient to update their personal details. While only a short email, there’s five tell-tale signs the email is not authentic. How many can you spot?

5. Business email compromise scam

You receive an email from your CEO about an urgent payment, but there are three signs that should jump out to show this email is a scam. How many can you see?


1. Phishing scam: Bank SMS

Here are the five signs the SMS message is a scam:

1. Don’t assume every contact you receive a message from is authentic, with scammers now having the ability to ‘spoof’ real phone numbers to add authenticity to their scheme. Always be cautious and check the rest of the message for red flags before trusting a SMS.

2. The first message might be authentic, but the different format of the second message indicates this could be a scam. While the original SMS provides information only, the second includes a link the scammer wants you to click – banks will never provide links to external sites.

3. If you do click on the link, you will be redirected to a phishing website which will attempt to trick you into giving out personal information such as your bank account details, passwords and credit card numbers. If you do think the message is real, you should visit your bank’s website directly to confirm rather than clicking the link.

4. The website linked in the message uses “http” not the “https” – a secure version of HTTP used to protect data sent between your browser and the website. It’s worth noting that some scam sites can use https, so don’t rely on this alone.

Here are the four signs the website is a scam:

1. Like the bank SMS, the website address uses http and not https. To ensure the website is secure, also look for a padlock icon in the address bar.

2. Again, the message has a sense of urgency by claiming the offer will end in six hours.

3. You know what they say about a deal being too good to be true. While it’s possible to grab a bargain, it’s worth considering the price alongside other factors.

4. The biggest sign this deal is a scam is the website uses a non-secure payment method. Payment methods like international funds transfers, money orders, pre-loaded gift cards, and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin are favoured by scammers as they are hard to track. Always look for secure payment options such as PayPal or credit card.

Here are the four signs the classified ad is a scam.

1.   For classified ads, it’s worthwhile doing a reverse-image search on Google to see if the picture is authentic or if it has been used elsewhere on the internet.

2.   Again, this seems too good to be true.

3.   The ad asks for you to send money before you receive the product. You should always pay after you have inspected the item, with local pick up a far better alternative to avoid scams.

4.   The payment is not secure.

4. Phishing scam: Mail delivery

Here are the five signs the email is a scam:

1. The domain name – the part of the email address after the @ symbol – is a sign that it’s not real. If you want to double check the authenticity, you can contact the business directly using details sourced independently.

2. The email has spelling and grammatical errors you would not expect from a large organisation.

3. The email is asking you to provide personal details after clicking on a link – Australia Post would never ask a customer to do this.

4. The malicious link will redirect you to a website designed to harvest your information. It’s better to visit the official website directly rather than a link. If you think it might be real.

5. Similar to tother scams, there’s a sense of urgency to make you act without thinking.

5. Business email compromise scam

Here are the three signs the email message is a scam:

1. While the email address might look authentic, a closer inspection reveals the letter ‘i’ in ‘services’ is a different character.

2. It has a sense of urgency

3. The email is asking for payment to made to a different account. Always verify changes to payment details directly with the recipient, using known and trusted contact details. Don’t deviate from your organisation’s payment procedure, which may include going through a finance, accounting or payment team.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019

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