How to protect yourself from becoming a victim of scams

In 2018 there were 177,516 reports made to Scamwatch with a total of $107,025,301 defrauded in various ways.

That total is only for those that were reported, which is believed to be about one third of what actually occurred.

Our most vulnerable age groups are those between 25-34 and the over 55s.

The most popular form of scamming is investment scams and dating scams. Identity theft also rates high on the long list of scams.

Most scams occur over the telephone and originate overseas.

So, what can we do to prevent becoming victims of these scams?

BE ALERT, when dealing with uninvited contact from people telling you you've won lotto or have a million-dollar inheritance from overseas. STOP and THINK about it, if you didn't enter lotto how could you possibly have won.

HANG UP, that is the easiest thing to do if you get a call that sounds too good to be true or is from someone purporting to be the police or the tax department or Centrelink saying you owe them money or have a warrant for your arrest.

Government agencies don't cold call and we don't ask you to send money over the phone. Hang up and ring your nearest police station or the agency that they said they were from and check it out.

NEVER, EVER give out you personal or bank details to anyone. Never allow anyone remote access to your computer. Don't click on links or attachments in emails that you don't know the source of.

Make sure that your security settings on your mobile phone and computers are the strongest they can be, have a trusted relative set them for you to prevent scam emails getting through into your inbox. Change your passwords regularly and make sure they are not something obvious to guess.

If you become a victim of a scam immediately contact your financial institution, change your passwords on all your accounts, contact your nearest police station or go onto the scamwatch.gov.au website and you can report it.

If your identity has been stolen, contact IDCARE on 1300432273 and they will assist you.