Scammers are often professional criminals. Anyone can fall for a scam, because scammers are getting smarter and using more sophisticated tricks to dupe thousands of Victorians every year.
In 2018, Victorians made more than 39,000 reports of scams, up from 33,000 the previous year. They also reported losses of more than $20 million.
Investment scammers may contact you offering unsolicited advice on investment opportunities such as shares or property. They make claims that an investment is risk-free, or that it will quickly make you rich. They say you need to act immediately, or you will miss out.
Scammers may also use advertising or ‘free’ investment seminars to promote their schemes.
To protect yourself:
- do not respond to unsolicited calls or emails offering investment opportunities
- be suspicious of investments that promise a high return with little or no risk
- get independent financial advice before making investment decisions.
To learn more:
Phishing – check their details before they get yours
Phishing scammers may contact you by phone, email, text message or social media. They pretend to be a business that you have an account with - such as your bank, phone company or internet provider - and ask you to provide or confirm your personal details.
If you give the scammer your details, they can use them to steal your identity and your money.
To protect yourself:
- don’t provide any information
- contact the business independently to check whether the call or message is genuine.
To learn more, visit the Phishing page on the Scamwatch website.
To watch videos of real scam stories, view our Real stories page.
Online scams - stay informed and protect yourself
See how scam savvy you are by taking our online scams quiz.
Keep these tips in mind when you are online:
- Watch out for unsolicited emails or phone calls from scammers pretending to be from a government agency, bank or other well-known organisation, saying you owe money. Scammers often threaten that if you do not pay immediately, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Check with the organisation by contacting them directly. For more information, view our Threat-based scams page.
- Be wary of online sellers offering goods and well-known brands at extremely low prices. For more information, view our Online selling scams page.
- If you’re selling items online, do not follow the links in a payment notification email to check whether the payment has arrived - log into your account directly.
- When dating online, don’t send money to someone you have never met, even if you have spoken to them or received gifts from them. For more information, view our Romance scams page.
- If you are searching for rental properties online, always inspect the property you want to rent before signing a lease agreement or sending any money. For more information, view our Rental scams page.
- Be wary of unsolicited emails saying you have unclaimed funds or are owed money. For more information, view our Rebate scams page.
- Do not let anyone pressure you into making quick investment or financial decisions. For more information, view our Investment scams page.
- Never send money or bank details to claim a prize. For more information, view our Lottery scams page.
- If you get a call out of the blue from someone saying they need to access your computer to repair it, hang up - it may be a scam. Get a professional to check your computer if you think it needs repairing. For more information, view our Computer repair scam page.
More ways to stay scam savvy:
For updates on new and common scams:
You are not alone
If you have been scammed, it can help to talk about how you are feeling with someone you trust. If you experience depression or anxiety as a result of being scammed, you can seek professional help from:
Men can find specialised support by visiting the Victorian Men’s Shed Association website.