Know how to spot a scam this Scams Awareness Week


Canberrans are encouraged to learn to identify the key scam signs to protect themselves and their loved ones, as more than $7 million was lost in reported scams in 2021.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Shane Rattenbury, said it was important Canberrans remained vigilant.

“With scams becoming more prevalent on social media, text messages and emails, the ACT recorded the highest amount of money lost to scams than any other state or territory in proportion to population,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“No one is immune to scams. Scammers target people from a variety of backgrounds, ages, and income levels. This week is Scams Awareness Week and we’re encouraging Canberrans to have a conversation with their family and friends about scams. Talking can help people spots the signs early and avoid being scammed.

“One of the best ways to combat scams is by being aware of them and knowing how to protect yourself. When dealing with uninvited contact, always consider the possibility that it may be a scam.”

Scams often operate by claiming to be from a genuine source such as a trusted organisation or family member. If unsure, check that a communication is real by contacting the person or organisation directly using details you have found yourself.

“Many scams go unreported due to feelings of shame and embarrassment, but I encourage anyone who thinks they have been scammed to report the matter to the ACCC via ScamWatch,” Minister Rattenbury said

“By reporting scams you can help the ACCC disrupt scammers and warn about emerging scams. Reporting a scam may protect others so please don’t feel embarrassed to lodge a report.”

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Quotes attributable to Samantha*, an ACT resident who fell victim to a bank phishing scam:

“Someone claiming to be a supervisor within my bank’s fraud department called to let me know they had detected unusual activity on my account. They asked if I had opened any suspicious links lately and I told them about the link I had clicked about a month earlier. They informed me that malware had been installed on my phone. They asked me to transfer my savings of $20,000 from my existing account to a new account that they told me was linked to my current one but with updated credentials so the scammer couldn’t access it. The phone numbers that appeared were legitimate numbers that had been spoofed and the caller had access to my full name and location.”

Quotes attributable to Theo*, an ACT resident who fell victim to a romance baiting cryptocurrency scam:

“I met a nice girl on a dating app and we had been speaking for a month and a half when she brought up cryptocurrency. She said she could show me how to trade. I signed onto a legitimate cryptocurrency platform and transferred $30,000 into the account. She asked me to change the currency into USDT and into a new wallet. My account reached $422,000 USDT so I wanted to withdraw and change it back into Australian dollars. When I did this, I received a message that I needed to pay $112,000 to make the withdrawal. A friend tried to help me retrieve the funds but my account was frozen as I did not pay the service fee.”

*Names have been changed to protect identity.