While most of us see Christmas as a joyous fun time, a time with
family, catch up with friends, cricket and BBQs, but for a nasty
few it is prime scam time.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reports
people lost $75million to scammers in 2015. The ACCC received
85,000 complaints about scams with ten per cent of callers saying
they had lost money to the fraudsters.
The scammers like Christmas because many people are at home and
relaxed. People don't expect somebody to try and rip them off
when they are on holiday. Many people are lonely at this time and
are vulnerable to clever scammers who prey on them.
The ACCC Scamwatch site lists some common scams.
Fake charities are big at Christmas with scammers impersonating
genuine charities or natural disaster fundraising asking for
donations. Check their credentials, better still only donate
through their accredited office or website.
Fake calls from Centrelink, tax office banks or authorities
trying to trick you into handing over money or personal details by
saying they have a rebate for you. Ask for their name, then hang up
and call the office to make sure they are who they say they
Unexpected money and winnings coming your way. It's an
oldie but people still fall for it. They'll say they need money
to be able to send you the winnings, and they want your bank
details. If it's too good to be true it is.
Dating and romance scams are particularly nasty and hurtful.
The scammers are skilled at sucking you in and prey on your
loneliness or vulnerability, but they will eventually ask for money
to help with some disaster or pay for travel to see you.
Obtaining your personal information as well as bank details is
an increasing scam for identity theft so they can use your credit
card or open a bank account in your name. Never share – even
if the call or email looks genuine. Check it out.
Threats and extortion sound overblown, but scammers will do
anything to steal your identity and get your money.
Forty per cent of scams come by phone, but 29 per cent come
through emails, 8 per cent via the Internet, 5 per cent via mail,
and 3 per cent via text message. Just 1 per cent come in person, so
it's clear the scammers prefer to keep their distance.
Anneka Frayne of Stacks Law Firm warns to check bills thoroughly
and if you are targeted by scammers it's worth speaking to a
legal expert who may be able to help secure your situation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Two criminal offences relating to "false dealing with accounting documents" have been introduced into the Criminal Code.
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