Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and often older Australians are targeted as they have more accumulated wealth than younger people.
Being ‘scammed’ can leave you distressed and vulnerable as you struggle to regather the losses.
Here we have identified some of the most common scams and provided tips for protecting yourself.
- Investment scams involve convincing you personally or through your business, to pay money on the promise of a questionable financial opportunity.
- Prize and lottery scams work by asking you to pay some sort of fee in order to claim your prize or winnings from a competition or lottery you never entered.
- Inheritance scams offer you the false promise of inheritance to trick you into parting with your money or sharing your bank or credit card details.
- Rebate scams try to convince you that you are entitled to a rebate or reimbursement from the government, a bank or trusted organisation.
Scammers also search dating sites and social media for older Australians who have recently divorced or who have lost a long-term partner, taking advantage of their often vulnerable, emotional state.
- Dating and romance scams - Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.
How to protect yourself
- Always do your own research before you invest money and check the company or scheme is licensed on ASIC's MoneySmart website.
- Be wary of people you meet on social media or online dating sites. Never hand out personal details even after a few conversations. Be cautious of those who try to move you away from the site and communicate via chat or email.
- Be suspicious of unexpected emails or letters advising you how to claim an inheritance or competition prize.
It pays to be suspicious and if you are in doubt, always ask someone to help you.
Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and provides information to consumers about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.
If you’re concerned about your safety online, we can align you with transport to a cyber safety event and/or resources so you can find answers to your questions. You can contact our Suncare team on 1800 786 227 or read more about ‘Online Safety’ via our website.
For more information
- Protect yourself from scams. There are steps that everyone can take to keep safe from scams.
- Be connected is a digital literacy program for older Australians to help them increase their online confidence, skills and safety.
- Scamwatch Online resources.
- Stay one step ahead of scammers by signing up for radar alert emails.
- Where to get help.