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Watch out for scams

Scammers don’t take holidays – they are always looking for new ways to target people. Be prepared and learn how to avoid seasonal scams.

Hand holding a mobile phone displaying a skull and a warning icon

Scams can have a devastating financial and emotional impact on victims, their families and friends. According to Scamwatch’s latest annual report, Australians aged over 55 reported losing over $220 million to scams last year.

The festive season is the ideal time for opportunistic scammers to take advantage of how busy and tired we can be. Protect yourself and your loved ones by learning about scams to watch out for this season.

Postage collection scams

Phishing scams, where scammers try to trick you into sharing personal information, were the most common type of scam reported to Scamwatch in 2022. Most of these reports related to dodgy text messages pretending to be from well-known companies.

As more and more people shop online, scammers are targeting people who are waiting for deliveries. They send a text message about parcels that are delayed or unable to be delivered. These messages often include a link and ask people to provide personal details.

The advice from Scamwatch and Australia Post? Don’t click the link!

Australia Post will never:

  • call, text or email you asking for personal or financial information including password, credit card details or account information
  • call, text or email you to request payment
  • ask you to click on an email link to print off a label to redeem your package.

Learn more on the Australia Post websiteExternal Link

Tax refund scams

The Australian Tax Office (ATO)External Link has received increased reports about tax-related scams this year. These scams can include text messages and emails asking people to:

These are impersonation scamsExternal Link , where scammers pretend to be from trusted companies, organisations, or even to be your family or friends. This type of scam reportedly cost Australians more than $20 million last year.

The ATO advises they will never:

  • Send you an email with a QR code or a link to log in to our online services
  • Send you an SMS with a link to sign in to our online services
  • Ask for your credit card details.

Invoice scams

Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their techniques to access your money. Invoice scams – also known as payment re-direction scams – happen when scammers send an invoice to you for a product or service with new or changed bank account details. The aim is to make you think you are paying a bill when you are paying directly to a scammer.

To protect yourself from this type of scam:

  • stop and check any changes to payment or contact details on invoices
  • call the business on a phone number you have sourced independently and ask them to confirm their payment details.

Learn more about product and service scams on the Scamwatch websiteExternal Link .

Top tips for avoiding scams

  • Stop – take your time before clicking any links, giving money or sharing personal information.
  • Think – ask yourself, does this look a bit suspicious or could it be fake?
  • Protect – act quickly if something doesn’t feel right.

If you think you have been scammed, contact your bank immediately and ask them to stop any transactions.

Change your passwords on all your devices and online accounts.

Contact IDCAREExternal Link , Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber support service. They can help you make a plan (for free) to limit the damage.

Once you have secured your details, report the scam to ScamwatchExternal Link to help warn others.

Learn more about scams

Reviewed 08 January 2024