Send Money Pacific Blog
How Can You Protect Yourself From Scammers?
Six tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of a scam.
Every year scammers target millions of people worldwide. In Australia alone in 2019, it is estimated that $143million* was lost to scams. In New Zealand last year, Netsafe received reports totalling $33M** lost from online scams and fraud.
Scamming is nothing new, but these days the scammers combine new technology with old techniques to entice people to send money or give out personal information. Don’t be the next victim of a scam. Here are some practical tips and points to watch out for:
Know how to spot a hoax. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — even if it comes from a friend (their account could have been hacked), or a charity or other official looking website, without double checking first. The request could come in a text message, a phone call, an email or via social media.
Do your research.You can review a company or product by typing the name into a search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Often these days there are online logs of dubious phone numbers so you can check if you receive a call from a number you do not know.
Don’t give out personal information. For instance, if someone calls asking for money or personal information, end the call. If you have any cause for doubt, ask for a number you can call back on. Remember that they are clever and trained to sound professional in many instances – it is their job!
Don’t pay any fees upfront, before you receive the service. Sometimes you may receive a call or email saying for instance that you have won a prize or inherited some money, but first you need to pay some fees or taxes in order to release the money. This would never normally be the case so don’t trust it.
Be suspicious of certain payment methods. If someone asks you to pay through money transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram this should ring alarm bells, and beware - it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. No reputable company will be asking you to pay with gift cards either.
If you have any doubts, confide in someone you trust. Often scammers will give a sense of urgency to stress you into making a quick decision, purposefully not giving you time to stop and think through the details. But before you hand over any money, trust your intuition, slow down, and talk to an expert or even a trusted family member or friend to get their opinion, before you make any commitment.
If you spot a scam or think you have been a victim of a scam, report it! This is the best way to make sure that scammers are stopped in their tracks. You can report scams here via the Australian government Scamwatch website for Australia, and via the Consumer Protection website https://www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/general-help/scamwatch/report-a-scam/#report-to-netsafe for New Zealand. These websites also offer a lot of really useful information to avoid being scammed.
Remember the age old saying, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
* Source: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au accessed 9.3.20
**Source: https://www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/ accessed 9.3.20