A scam is an attempt to trick you into parting with your money. Many scams start overseas or on the internet. This makes it hard for authorities to catch the scammers.

Protect yourself

Most scammers contact people by phone or on the internet. There are three easy ways you can protect yourself:

  • Hang up when someone you don't know calls to fix your computer remotely or make special offer and asks for personal information.
  • Immediately delete emails from people you don't know, and from agencies or businesses that you didn’t agree to receive emails from.
  • Never send money online to someone you haven't met in person.

Visit the SCAMwatch website for more tips to protect yourself and to check for alerts about current scams being reported in Australia.

Report a suspected scam

Warning signs

Scammers are experts in gaining trust but often there are warning signs.

  • Someone you don’t know, and can't check on, asks for bank details over the phone.
  • You receive an unexpected email claiming to be from a bank or other service provider.
  • You win a lottery you never entered.
  • You get an email about claiming an inheritance from a long lost relative.
  • Emails have poor English or incorrect grammar.
  • You feel pressured to 'sign up' straight away.
  • The caller wants to connect to your computer remotely to fix it.
  • Someone you know online, but haven't met in person, wants to borrow money.

Chargeback - credit

Your credit provider may authorise a credit to your (credit) account, known as a chargeback, if you have not received goods or services, or if there is a breach of a consumer guarantee.

Contact your credit card provider to apply for a refund if you have paid for goods or services using that card, or pressed ‘credit’ when using a debit card - it doesn't matter if the business is no longer operating. There are often time limits to dispute the transaction. More information is available from the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

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Page last updated 15 November 2021

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department
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