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Scams cost Australians $45 million in six months

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's ScamWatch website has revealed that between January and June in 2015, $45 million was siphoned out of Australian bank accounts and into the pockets of scam artists.

This is only 10.3% of reported incidents and equates to about $9000 a claim.

ScamWatch has tips to avoid falling victim to a scam this year:

scam

  • Beware when shopping online - if it's too good to be true, it probably is;
  • Always research thoroughly if you're unsure of the legitimacy of a person or company. Don't send money or give out your financial information to sources you don't fully trust;
  • Never open suspicious attachments or emails - delete them straightaway;
  • Take steps to prevent identity theft. This could include putting a lock on your letterbox, destroying old bills, and storing your pin numbers in a safe place;
  • Always use a passcode to lock your digital devices. It's good practice to switch passwords every few months. Don't pick passwords that are too easy to guess; and
  • Never agree to transfer money or goods for another person. It might turn out to be money laundering, which is a criminal offence.

If you've sent money or personal banking information to a scammer, contact your bank or credit union immediately. If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, contact iDcare - a free government-funded service.

Where to go to report a scam

Type of incident Agency
Banking Your bank or financial institution
Cybercrime Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network
Financial and investment scams Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Fraud and theft Your local police - call 131 444

In Victoria call your local police station

Spam Australian Communications and Media Authority
Tax related scams Australian Taxation Office
Other scams ACCC via Scamwatch

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Steph Nash was a staff writer at Money until 2017.
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