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Top tips to protect yourself from the latest scams


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Although we might be getting better at spotting them, no one is immune to the considerable increase in the number of scams targeting social networks and digital communication.

Here are a few ways you can try to protect yourself.

Identifying scam tactics

Scammers thrive on emotions and urgency, which can make victims feel anxious, scared, or excited. Common red flags we should be cautious about include:

  • An unusual request for help from a relative or friend needing money to pay an urgent expense or medical emergency.
  • A matter of urgency where you feel pressured to act quickly.
  • A message or email containing direct links or attachments.
  • Bad grammar or spelling mistakes.
  • A deal that seems too good to be true.

Therefore, when you receive an odd call, message, or email, consider these strategies.


  • Do not act on any request for information or transactions. Even if someone says something is urgent, you can always pause.


  • Take time to figure out whether there is anything suspicious about the communication, particularly unprompted correspondence. If unsure, ask for a second opinion from a trusted friend or family member.


  • Do not use any contact numbers, emails or links supplied by the sender; instead, source their contact information by visiting the institution’s secure public website.
  • Check payment details provided in invoices and, if in any doubt, contact the business or agency directly on an alternative number.

Protection is key

Consider protecting yourself against online scammers by:

  • Using complex passwords incorporating lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Request two-way authentication as security for your online sites and services; this sends a code to your mobile device every time your account needs to be accessed.
  • Beware of any sudden communication requiring urgent attention.
  • Don’t assume the person contacting you is who they say they are.
  • Don’t share personal information such as birth dates or passport details.
  • Beware of any buyer or seller requesting unusual payment methods including wire transfers, pre-loaded cards, money orders or Bitcoin.
  • Don’t click or download any unprompted invoices, receipts or direct links, even from reputable sources.
  • Do not accept friendship requests on socials from unknown individuals; if you have a friendship request from someone you’re already friends with, contact them on an alternative number or their ‘old’ account to confirm the request. If it wasn’t, block the fake profile and report it to the social platform.
  • Never send intimate photos or videos of yourself as these may be used as blackmail.
  • Delete and block any suspicious numbers, messages, or emails.
  • Warn family and friends about scams you encountered.
  • Consider disrupting cybercrimes and security incidents by reporting them to the Australian Government’s‘ReportCyber’ and ‘Scamwatch’ tools.

You can also check out the Australian Government’s ‘Be Connected’ website and stay informed about scams and online safety.

What to do if you think you’ve been scammed

If you suspect you’re a victim of cybercrime, consider the following:

  • Contact the Australian Cyber Security Centre via their hotline 1300 CYBER1 (1300 292 371) or their ‘Have you been hacked’
  • If you opened direct links or sent personal details to someone impersonating myGov, Medicare, Centrelink or Child Support, contact Services Australia’s ‘Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk’.

Scams can happen to anyone and can cause emotional distress. If you need to talk to someone besides family and friends, reach out to Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14 for support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Like every article on this website, this is not personal advice.


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