We have had a number of clients receive phone calls from people purporting to be from the ATO and Centrelink. They have been asking for personal details such as date of birth, Tax File Numbers, Bank account numbers, etc., in order to either steal their money or steal their identity.
This note gives you a few tips on how to protect yourself from scams.
How do scams work?
Scams may work by:
- Pretending to be the government or government organisation or a company that you know and trust
- Telling you that you have been specifically selected to win a money or a prize
- Scaring you into thinking you will miss out or be unsafe if you do not accept an offer or provide them your personal information
- Offering you something for ‘free’; you then feel pressured to give something in return
- Using realistic-looking websites or other tools, when in fact they are fake.
What are some common scams that our clients have reported to us?
Banking and personal information scams
- You get a letter or email or phone call pretending to be from your bank or a government department such as the ATO or Centrelink
Lottery and Competition scams
- You get a telephone call, text message, email or letter saying you have won money in a lottery or a prize in a competition
- You are asked to send a fee (usually to another country) so you can collect your winnings
- You get a phone call or email offering an investment opportunity or other type of financial scheme at an extremely high interest rate or return rate
- You may also be offered early access to your superannuation or gambling software that claims to pick winners of sporting events or stock market movements
- Never give your credit card, bank account or other financial details by email or over the phone
- Do not give personal details over the phone unless you made the call. Make sure you call the correct number by going onto the company or government department’s website
- Never open suspicious looking emails and certainly don’t answer them if you inadvertently open them
- If you did not enter a lottery or competition, ignore or delete the offer
- Never send your bank account details to collect a prize
- It the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is
- Do not believe an offer that promises you will ‘get rich quick’
What to do if you think you are being scammed?
Do not hesitate to contact your adviser if you believe that there is some suspicious activity taking place.
There is also a website that the ACCC has established called SCAMwatch, which has more information about scams and how you can report any scam and where you may be able to get additional help. I would encourage you to go onto this site as there are many other ways in which scammers will try and steal your money.