Indigenous consumers lost more than $1.2 million to scammers last year according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s 2015 Targeting Scams Report – an increase of nearly 65 per cent compared to 2014.
“Losses to scammers are not only distressing to the individual concerned but can also have a significant impact on others in their community,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
Dating and romance scams caused the greatest loss among Indigenous consumers, totalling more than $613,000. Inheritance scams, and computer and prediction software & sports investment schemes also caused significant losses.
This Fraud Week, the ACCC and its partners are working with Indigenous communities to warn elders about the dangers of scams.
“Indigenous community elders play an important role as leaders and educators. By working with them, we hope to raise awareness about scams and pass on some tips on how to avoid them,” Ms Rickard said.
Indigenous consumers can also log on to the ACCC’s ‘Your Rights Mob’ Facebook page to spread the message about how to spot a scam and how they can protect themselves from scammers.
- Keep your personal details secure – never just throw out bills or important documents that have your personal details on them like your address, bank account details or date of birth. Be careful sharing private information about yourself online, including Facebook and Divas Chat.
- Keep your mobile devices and computers secure – always use password protection, update security software and don’t share access to your phone or computer with others.
- Choose your passwords carefully – use strong passwords (a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols), and change them regularly.
- Beware of any request for your details or money – Use the phone book or an internet search to check the organisation’s contact details to make sure they’re not gammon. NEVER use the contact details provided in the original request.
Get a copy of your credit report – to find out if somebody is pretending to be you. Visit ASIC’s MoneySmart Website to find out how you can get a free copy of your credit report every year to make sure no-one is using your name to borrow money or run up debts.
Scams target everyone. Watch the ACCC’s video to find out what to look out for and outsmart the scammers.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the Scamwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.