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What are scams?

Scams are on the rise; they can devastate lives and communities. A scam is a word used to describe a fraudulent business or scheme that takes money or personal information unfairly from someone.

Because of our increased reliance on technology there are more opportunities to be scammed and millions of Australians fall victim every year. A person who scams someone is called a scammer.  There are thousands of types of scams today, but most boil down to stealing money, property, or information. 

Below is a video from Consumer Protection on how to stay safe online. Consumer Protection WA operates Scamnet which gathers information from consumers and businesses and profiles scams that have targeted Western Australians. 

Consumer Protection identifies the most prevalent scams and provides information to law enforcement agencies here in Australia and overseas. This is why it is so important to report scams.

What can you do to spot & avoid scams?


How to spot a scam

  • Offers out of the blue.
  • Demands to share your bank account or verify a password or PIN.
  • Prizes asking you to send money to claim your winnings.
  • Pre-recorded messages or calls where there is a slight delay before the operator talks.
  • Offers that ask you to act quickly.
  • Companies with PO Box.
  • Unknown phone numbers calling through.
  • People that call you repeatedly and stay on the phone a long time.
  • When you are told not to tell family or friends about the call.
  • When you are told to give a false account of events to another party (for example, a loan is for home improvements instead of investing).
  • If something seems too good to be true.


What to do to avoid scams

  • Do not click on links in text messages or emails unless 100 percent sure they are genuine. Delete them.
  • Do not give credit card, account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust. 
  • Do not send money to anyone that you do not know or trust.
  • Avoid putting personal information online – for example your date of birth, workplace and personal address.
  • Do not let people into your house without checking ID.
  • Do not use public WiFi to make any financial transactions, such as online banking or shopping.
  • Choose complex unique passwords and update them regularly.
  • Check your credit report to see if someone is accessing credit in your name.
  • Keep up to date with current scams via Scamwatch.
  • Keep anti-virus software up to date.
  • Use 2-factor authentication.

How to report a scam

You can report a scam by contacting the following organisations:

ACCC (Scamwatch) Scamwatch is a National body that provides information on scams they have an Online Scam Reporting Tool and free advice on how to move forward when you have been scammed.

Consumer Protection WA (Scamnet) Scamnet profiles scams affecting West Australians and provides up to date information and support.
Phone: 1300 30 40 54 

IDCARE: IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber support service. They can help you make a plan (for free) to limit the damage when your ID has been stolen.
Phone: 1800 595 160

It's important to
scams to help prevent future losses

What help is available?



Run by the National Anti-Scam Centre. You can report scams and learn about new scams.
Click Here

WA Scamnet

WA Scamnet

Run by Consumer Protection WA. Report scams and learn about new scams.
Click Here



Learn about the different types of scams and how you can avoid them.
Click Here

Little Black Book of Scams

Little Black Book of Scams

An up-to-date guide to scams, warning signs and how to protect yourself
Click Here

Australian Cyber Security Centre

Australian Cyber Security Centre

Learn how to recognise and report scams. Can you spot a scam? - take the 5min quiz
Click Here



IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber support service.
Click Here

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