Scams involving identity theft or loss of personal and banking information have already costed Australians at least $16 million in 2019 alone.
According to the 2019 Scamwatch reports, four in ten scams involve attempts or the actual loss of victim’s information.
“If you think scammers might have gained access to your personal information, even in a scam completely unrelated to your finances, immediately contact your bank,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“Timeliness in alerting your financial institution is absolutely crucial, and will give you the best possible chance at recovering your funds.”
Some popular ways scammers obtain personal or banking information include emails and text messages impersonating banks or utility providers, fake online quizzes and surveys or fake job advertisements.
In addition, ACCC has warned of new methods scammers use the digital platform, through accessing social media platforms to source information about individuals or using dating and romance scams to directly request for scans of driver’s license or passport.
“No one is really selling an iPhone for $1, or rewarding the completion of a survey with expensive electronic goods or large gift vouchers. They’re scams to get your valuable personal information,” Ms Rickard said.
“The identity thieves can make victims’ lives a nightmare. They’ll change the victims’ phone carrier so they lose service and set up mail redirections so they’re in the dark about what’s going on.”
Once personal or banking information is lost, scammers can empty victim’s bank accounts, take out bank loans under victim’s names or even purchase expensive furniture or electronics.
“The trick is to be alert to the signs. If your mobile phone suddenly loses coverage, you haven’t received expected electronic or physical mail, or you receive unexpected notifications from a financial institution, call your bank,” Ms Rickard said.
Lois Lee / firstname.lastname@example.org
(02) 8876 1870