Posted on 14 March 2019
With more of our lives moving into the digital world, scams and fraud are becoming increasingly common, affecting around 1.6 million Australians each year. Often older people can be less tech savvy and are at greater risk, with 75% of scams and fraud happening to people above 50.
A scam is when somebody gains your confidence in order to steal your money or personal information. Fraud is when somebody accesses your money without your knowledge or permission, you may not even be aware it has happened.
Scammers and fraudsters play on emotions like loneliness, fear and compassion. They can identify vulnerabilities such as isolation, age and low computer skills to trick you into making decisions. They may make offers of money or other rewards – or they could use threats and intimation.
What to watch out for:
- IT Support – pretending to be technical support from a company to get access to your computer
- Job Opportunities – offering a quick and guaranteed way of making money with little effort
- Romance and dating scams – forming a relationship with you to extract money, gifts or ownership of your assets
- Investment scams – claiming to be a stockbroker or portfolio manager with an investment opportunity
- Travel scams – requesting personal information to book a free or discounted holiday
- Unexpected money – promising an inheritance or large sum of money in exchange for an upfront fee
- Fake charities – posing as a non-profit organisation collecting money for a worthy cause
- Phishing – pretending to be someone you can trust to get your personal or credit card details
- Malware – installing software on your computer that gives a scammer access
- Skimming – attaching a device on an ATM or EFTPOS machine that stores your card details
- Card fraud – using your credit card details to make transactions without your authorisation
- Missed call – phoning you and then hanging up so you can call back on a number with premium charges
- Identity fraud – stealing your identity or using your personal information to commit a crime
- Cheque fraud – altering or forging a cheque in your name to pay for goods and services