Protect Yourself Against Phone Scams
We have all received a phone call from an unknown number and while a lot of us ignore them, those that answer are often greeted by a would-be scammer on the other end.
Some scammers show up as missed calls from overseas but some scammers are from people claiming to be from Centrelink or the ATO.
Many assume because Centrelink and the ATO are legit, the person on the other end is too.
Major warning flags that someone is trying to scam:
- Receiving unsolicited offers arriving by a phone call, text, SMS (short message service) or MMS (multimedia message service)
- Calls or messages
- From lottery, sweepstakes or other prize wins asking you to send money, provide private information and personal details to claim your winnings
- From someone you do not know asking for money or assistance on behalf of your family. (They often claim someone needs bail or has been in accident).
- From service technicians claiming to fix your corrupt computer or that your computer has been hacked
Here are the ACCC’s top tips to protect yourself from a phone scam:
- If you are unsure or do not recognise a phone number or the sender, don’t reply to the message or try to unsubscribe, just delete the message. Most smartphones now can also block unknown numbers from ever hitting your phone too. Block the number if possible. You can also register your phone number on the Do Not Call Register to stop telemarketers and such too.
- Never send your personal details, credit card or online account details in a message or give them out to an unknown person over the phone.
- If the caller continues to harrass you, report them to ACCC’s SCAMwatch website www.scamwatch.gov.au or call the ACCC Infocentre 1300 302 502.
If you do receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from Centrelink or the ATO, the real government owned businesses will not do the following:
- Ask you to transfer money to an account with a BSB not held with the Reserve Bank of Australia
- Ask you for a payment through unusual methods like payment in prepaid cards, gift cards, etc
- Ask you for a payment to receive a refund or other payment
- Stay on the phone with you while you go to the bank, post office or shops to make a payment
- Ask you to update or provide personal information supply your TFN, credit card or bank details via email, text message or social media
- Send you a downloadable files or tell you to install software
- Read more from the ATO
- Read more from Centrelink
The old adage of “if it sounds too good to be true, then it is” holds true when it comes to scams. Listen and pay attention to the warning signs and when in doubt, ignore the call and text and don’t call or text back.