8 August 2018
Scam Awareness – By Interchange Australia Consultant, Amber Hall
Interchange Australia delivers regular monthly staff information sessions to provide the latest sector news to our staff and to ensure that we are providing the highest quality care to our clients. Recently, a representative from the Department of Fair Trading presented the latest information relating to scam awareness and consumer law. According to Scamwatch, during June 2018 alone, 326 scams were reported costing victims a total of $4.5M. Many of the people targeted by scams are vulnerable members of the community, including people with disability and older people.
What is a Scam?
A scam is an attempt by any dishonest individual, group or company to trick or ruthlessly obtain personal information or identity, assets, money or something else of value from a person. The main communication methods used by scammers include phone, internet including social media and in person.
How can you protect yourself from a scam?
• Alert yourself to the fact that scams exist: if it’s too good to be true it probably is! If a company calls you they should know your details. If they ask you for personal information you can always call them back after checking the organisation’s phone number is correct;
• Person and organisation knowledge: Research the company or person you are communicating with to ensure they are legitimate;
• Keep your details secure: don’t share your private details such as passwords and keep them secure. Think about information you are sharing, for example, if going on holidays, don’t share your photos on social media until you are home;
• Don’t open suspicious emails or pop ups on your computer: close windows promptly, don’t open up unknown emails and seek advice if you are unsure about something or if something seems suspicious; and
• Beware of non-registered charities and organisations: be careful of who you give money to, especially people who appear at your door asking for donations during fundraising efforts such as the current Drought Relief programs.
Where can you find out further information?
To find out how to protect yourself from scams or to report a scam, please visit the Department of Fair Trading or Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) websites.