10 ways to avoid being scammed


List of some of the most well-known scams
Understanding the risks
Tips to stay safe online

With online scammers becoming more sophisticated, it is important more than ever to ensure you are protecting your hard-earned cash. With the stereotype of victims being from older people most likely to be scammed, it is Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Zs that are more likely than senior to report losing money to fraud. 

Anyone can become a victim of online scammers, and the losses are considerable with Australians expected to lose $4 billion to scams in 2022(i). Scamwatch is a great resource for learning about the new scams circulating in the community, so take some time to educate yourself. Becoming more aware of scammer’s tactics will make it easier to avoid falling victim. 

There are a range of scams and some can be hard to tell if something is a scam. We list some of the most well-knowns that you may come across. 

  • 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. 
  • Investment scams: The scammer gets money from you for a fake investment opportunity.
  • Unexpected money: The scammer tells you that you’re entitled to money or valuable assets but must make upfront payments to get them. 
  • 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. 
  • Fake charities: The scammer convinces you to pay money to a fake charity. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

Understanding the risks and being aware of your behaviour online is the best defence for cybercrime. To help make sure you don’t fall victim, we look at some of the ways you can avoid being scammed. 

Follow these tips to stay safe online. 

  • Turn on two-factor authentication on your accounts. 
  • Be wary of offers that sound too good to be true and check independent reviews of sellers or the site you’re using. 
  • When buying online, make sure the website’s URL starts with ‘https’, that it has the padlock icon in the address bar, and that it has a trust seal. 
  • Think carefully before clicking on a link in an email or SMS as it may contain malware or be a phishing link to gather your personal information. Even if the SMS pops up in the same thread as other texts from a legitimate organisation, it may still be a scam. 
  • Be suspicious of any out-of-the blue phone calls from people claiming to be a service provider, such as your telephone or internet provider. You can always hang up the phone and ring the business back on a phone number you have for them. 
  • Keep your passwords secure and don’t share them, banking pins, or SMS verification codes with anyone. 
  • Be extremely suspicious if you’re asked for money for transport costs, communication, marriage processing or medical fees for an online boyfriend or girlfriend. 
  • Look out for common spelling, grammatical or language errors in emails, texts or website addresses – they could well suggest a scam. 
  • Never make your tax file number publicly available, such as on your CV/resumé. 
  • If you’re not sure that the person on the other end of the phone is legitimate, hang up and call the organisation on its official contact number. 

If you are concerned that the wrong person has access to your finances. Reach out and discuss your situation with your adviser 

Taking a little extra care to be aware and alert to the possibility of being scammed could save you a lot of heartache. Of course, we are here to help if you think something may be a little suspect. 

 Being scammed is a horrible experience. If you need someone to talk to (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) contact: 

  • Lifeline — 13 11 14 or the online Crisis Support Chat 
  • Beyond Blue — 1300 22 4636 or Beyond Blue website 






Sign up to get the latest insights with our newsletter delivered straight to your inbox


Sign up to get the latest insights with our newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.