Phone calls are made by scammers to homes and businesses in a wide variety of scams, from threatening tax scams to offers of prizes or ‘help’ with computer viruses. The availability of cheap Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephone calls means call centres can operate offshore with telephone numbers that look like they’re local numbers. Telephone caller identification can easily be disguised and is one of the many tricks scammers use to make you believe they are someone else.
SMS text messages are used by scammers to send a whole range of scams including competition or prize scams. If you respond, you may be charged at premium rates or find yourself signed up to a subscription service. It is safer not to respond or click on links in text messages unless you know who they came from. They can also contain attachments or links to malicious software in the guise of photos, songs, games or apps.
At your door Watch out—some scammers will come right to your door to try and scam you. Door-to-door scams usually involve the scammer promoting goods or services that are not delivered or are of a very poor quality. You may even get billed for work that you did not want or agree to. A common door-to-door scam is carried out by dodgy traders who move from place to place and do shoddy home repairs or just take your money and run.
Legitimate businesses can sell door-to-door but must clearly identify themselves and their company and follow other rules. You have specific rights when it comes to door-to-door sales practices including the chance to change your mind—find out more at www.accc.gov.au/doortodoor.
Scammers can pose as fake charity workers to collect donations. They will take advantage of recent events like floods and bushfires. Before donating ask for identification and see their official receipt book.
Bulk mailing is still used to send lottery and sweepstake scams, investment opportunities, Nigerian scams and fake inheritance letters. A glossy brochure is no guarantee that an offer is legitimate. Regardless of the delivery method they use, their story is always the bait and if you bite, the scammer will attempt to move you to the next stage.
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