Scams Awareness Week – Be yourself. Don’t let a scammer be you

17 Aug 2020

This year’s Scams Awareness Week runs from 17–21 August as part of a national campaign by the Scams Awareness Network. This year’s theme focuses on personal information and identity crime, with the slogan Be yourself. Don’t let a scammer be you. This campaign aims to educate and empower consumers to protect their personal and financial information in an increasingly digital environment.

Key messages:

  • Your personal information is valuable, scammers will try to steal it.
  • Our growing use of technology gives scammers more opportunities to trick you into giving away your personal and/or financial information.
  • Scammers can use your personal information to steal your identity for personal and financial gain.
  • You have a lot to lose–not only money but once lost it can take years to recover your identity.
  • There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself. Most importantly, don’t be pressured into giving away your information.
  • Keep personal information private. Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
  • Lock your mailbox.
  • Shred any sensitive documents you no longer need.
  • Check your credit report using a reputable credit reference bureau at least once a year, this can help you catch any unauthorised activity. Visit The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner for information.
  • If you’re unsure if a contact is legitimate, you should not provide any personal information.
  • Organisations and businesses must also protect any information held on individuals. Scammers can gain identity information by unlawfully accessing your records. Visit The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner for information to help organisations comply with privacy laws.
  • Report a scam–it can help others from falling victim.

Where to seek help

If you’ve lost money or given personal information to a scammer, there are steps you can take to limit the damage and protect yourself from further loss:

1. If you’ve sent money or shared your banking or credit card details, contact your financial institution immediately.
2. If the scam occurred on social media or a legitimate website, report it to the platform involved. For scams on Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, see this step-by-step guide for reporting scams on Facebook services.
3. If you’ve given your personal information to a scammer, visit IDCARE – Australia and New Zealand’s not-for-profit national identity and cyber support service. IDCARE can work with you to develop a specific response plan to your situation and support you through the process.
4. Obtain a credit report from a reputable credit reference bureau. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has a list on its website. A credit reporting body must give you access to your consumer credit report for free once every 12 months.
5. Awareness is our best defence against scams – take the time to warn your friends and family about scams.
6. For more information or to report a scam visit Scamwatch.
7. To keep up-to-date on scams, subscribe to Scamwatch email alerts and follow @Scamwatch_gov Twitter.


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