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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 other goods unfairly from someone.

Because of our increased reliance on technology there are more opportunities to be scammed and millions of Australian 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 or
  • Companies with a mobile number, or a premium rate number usually beginning 090.
  • 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.
  • If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.


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.

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

Case Study

Scams are not always online.  Here is an example where CCLS has helped a client to move forward when scammed in person.

“Andrew” is a 70-year-old. He is indigenous and has a health condition with at times can impair his cognitive ability. Andrew also has low technological literacy. Andrew was approached on the street by a scammer who convinced Andrew to accompany him to the local telco store.

The telco employee dealt mainly with the scammer, and at the end of the transaction put documents and devices in a bag and gave the bag directly to the scammer.

When Andrew later received bills from the telco, he ignored them, as he did not recall having an account with that telco. There was no option to pursue a claim against the scammer as the client had no knowledge of who they were, how to find them.

Andrew contacted CCLS who requested documents from the telco. On review, we determined that an account was opened in Andrew’s name, with three separate mobile phone services that were opened during that interaction with the scammer.

The minimum contracted cost of the services and devices was over $5,000. After additional fees and collection charges, the telco alleged Andrew owed over $8,000.  CCLS followed the internal dispute process for the provider and when they were unable to assist further, CCLS lodged a formal complaint with the TIO about the provider’s original conduct after which the provider agreed to waive the debt for “Andrew”.


Scams are not always online.

If you require further advice, please message us using the form below for a confidential discussion, or scroll down to see other ways to reach us.

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