Scammers use clever tricks to reel you in and get you to reply to their email or not hang up the phone. Most scams seem like genuine offers but they are carefully designed to trick you into giving away your money or your personal details.
How scammers trick you
Psychological tricks to make you feel obligated. A common trick is to use persuasive psychological tactics to make you part with your money. Some may offer a free gift or assistance to make you feel obliged to return the favour. Remember, you do not owe them anything so don’t be pressured into giving them something in return.
It’s hard to say no to friends
Scammers know that if they develop a friendly relationship with you, you will be more likely to listen to them and go along with whatever they suggest. Some join groups of people in churches or community groups and gain their trust. While the investment or offer appears to be going well, they can recruit new victims on the testimony of other people who are already in the scheme.
Scammers may threaten you
You may be contacted by someone pretending to be from a well-known organisation or government department who tries to scare you into parting with your personal information or money. They may threaten you with a fine, or say they will disconnect your internet, take you to court, arrest or even deport you.
Don’t be pressured by a threatening caller. Instead, just hang up and check whether their story is real by contacting the organisation using their contact details through an independent source, like a phone book or online search. Don’t use the contact details the caller gives you, or that they include in their email.
Scammers claim to be professionals
Scammers will say they are approved or associated with another reputable organisation or government agency to convince you of their legitimacy. They hope that, because you have heard of these organisations, you will trust them. They might also say they are a professional broker, portfolio manager or investment dealer. Even if they sound professional and have slick brochures and documents to send you, they are working to a carefully crafted script.
Warning: Scammers impersonating ASIC
ASIC has warned it’s Registry customers to be wary of scam emails that contain attachments or links to fake invoices. Read the media release.
Persistent phone calls, text messages or emails
Scammers can call you endlessly or try to keep you on the phone for a long time. They present you with promises of wealth or opportunities lost if you don’t take up the offer. They will not take no for an answer and might ask you about your worries to reassure you. As long as they can keep you talking, you haven’t said no.
Don’t respond to texts or emails that ask you to click on a link, download an attachment or ask you to provide personal information (like account numbers or personal details). Attachments and links may contain a virus and infect your computer with malware.
Incredible offers of easy money
Scammers are clever at offering you incredible deals that promise great returns with very little or no risk. But if it seems too good to be true, it often is.
Many scammers create professional-looking websites to prove to you that their product is real and worth the money they want you to pay. They can also send links to these websites in fraudulent emails which look like they’re from your bank or another business you may deal with asking you to give up personal information.
Fake social media profiles
Scammers will create fake profiles using information they have stolen or made up. They may send you a friend request or message, then ask for money to help them with trouble they are having. They may know personal details of your friends if they have hacked their accounts and, if you accept their friend request, they could gain access to your personal information and steal your identity.
What scammers want you to do
Respond to them
Scammers will often approach a large number of people through email, phone calls, and text messages in the hope of receiving a response. A response could be as simple as answering the phone, responding to their text or clicking on an email link they send you. It’s important to be cautious of who calls, texts or emails you. It will often be someone you don’t know, but it could also be someone pretending to be a person whose name you recognise.
Beware of unusual payment methods
Scammers may ask you to pay a fine or bill by unusual methods like gift or store cards, iTunes cards, wire transfers or bitcoin.
No government agency or trusted business will ever ask you to pay by these methods.
Commit to something early
Scammers will get you to commit to something early in the discussion so they can use it to get you to agree to something else later. They do this to make you feel uneasy and defend your original actions. You need to tell them that just because you agreed to something earlier doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind about it later.
Make a fast decision
Scammers often use the terms ‘last chance’ or ‘limited offer’ to make you act fast. They don’t want to give you any time to check if their offer is real before you commit to it.
If you’re being pressured to act fast, don’t. Being rushed into a decision is one of the biggest indicators that you’re being scammed.