Six Tips to Avoid Fraud

While technology plays an important role in making our lives easier, it has also made it easier to become a victim of fraud.

Scammers use a variety of convincing techniques to access your personal information or get you to send them money, making some scams hard to identify.

National Consumer Fraud Week (16-22 June) is aimed at helping Australians recognise the signs of fraud. Here we’ve identified some of the most common online scams and provided tips of how to avoid them.

You’ve won a large pot of money!

Who wouldn’t like to win the lottery or inherit a lost fortune? A promise of free money is a common way for scammers to target victims.

This type of scam can be via email or SMS and often asks for personal or bank details to ‘claim your winnings’, sometimes even asking for an upfront fee.

To avoid these scams remember:

  • Don’t respond to emails from people or organisations you’re not familiar with
  • Never send money to anyone you don’t know or give out your bank account details
  • Always use common sense – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Scammers masking as trusted companies

Some scammers claim to be from trusted companies like Gumtree, eBay or Western Union, offering buyer protection, an online payment system or even cash prizes – often requesting a response with a sense of urgency.

Once again, this is an attempt to access personal information or request payment for a service.

To avoid these scams remember:

  • Most companies, including Gumtree, never send emails of an urgent nature requesting personal information. Treat these emails with caution.
  • Don’t open downloads or follow links in emails. If you receive an email from a company offering a service, go directly to the company’s website and look for details of the service to confirm its legitimacy.

SMS asking for personal information

Scammers will sometimes target online sellers by pretending to be a potential buyer. These scammers will send an SMS requesting a response via email. The SMS sender will claim to be highly interested in their listing and is often ready to offer a large sum of money.

These messages are usually from overseas scammers, who want to communicate via email so they can translate correspondence online. The scammer is likely to ask for the seller’s PayPal details and will subsequently share a fake receipt claiming to have transferred too much money and request for it to be returned.

To avoid these scams, remember that Gumtree is designed for local, face-to-face trading. Always meet a buyer or seller in person first and never send money to someone you don’t know.

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