What are scam calls and messages?
A scam call or message is a form of communication attempting to dishonestly obtain benefit, or cause loss, by deception or other means. Scam calls and messages often include attempts to fraudulently obtain money or information from a victim.
For information on the most common scams to avoid please have a look at the ACCC’s Little Black book of Scams which identifies such scams as:
- Dating and romance scams
- Investment scams
- Threat and penalty scams
- Unexpected money scams
- Prize and lottery scams
- Online shopping, classified and auction scams
- Computer and mobile device scams
- Identity theft scams
- Job and employment scams
- Charity and medical scams
- Business scams
How to block suspicious or unwanted communications
You may be able to block suspicious or unwanted international or domestic calls or SMS from a specific number via the settings in your phone. Most phones have a native way to block specific numbers, but this can vary by device manufacturer. Below are some links to common device manufacturer support services which can be used to assist in blacklisting communications from unwanted numbers:
Mitigating the risk from scams
- Protect your personal information and don't share it with unknown or unsolicited callers
- Contact your financial institution immediately if you believe you have lost money to a scammer
- Changing default PINs and passwords on newly acquired customer equipment
- Selecting strong PINS and passwords (e.g. Not "1234" or "0000" or "password" etc.)
- Never sharing PINs you are sent or create with anyone
- Locking mobile handsets with secure PINs
- Ensuring that Voicemail PINs are secure
- Disabling PABX ports and features that are not used (e.g. remote call-forwarding)
- Changing PINs and passwords regularly
- Not responding to missed calls or SMS from unknown international numbers, unknown Australian numbers or an unknown source
- Blocking suspicious or unknown domestic or international numbers on mobile handsets and use of blocking services or products, where available, on landlines
- Allowing unknown calls to go to Voicemail and then listening to any message left to ascertain if this might be a genuine call.
- Not clicking on URLs or making return calls to telephone numbers contained in a message from unknown international numbers or unknown Australian numbers or an unknown source.
What to do if you receive scam calls or messages?
If you receive scam calls or messages, you can report the incident using the ACCC’s Scamwatch service.
More information on scam calls and messages
You can find out more information on scam related calls and messages at the following websites:
- ACCC Scamwatch
- ACSC Stay Smart Online program
- ACMA Phone Scams website
- ATO Scam Alerts
- Services Australia - Scams and Identity Theft
- ACCC Little Black Book of Scams