In support of national Scams Awareness Week (7–11 November) and its aim to help Australians spot scams, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has today revealed the top five phone scams currently being reported to the agency.
The scam most reported to the ACMA in the last three months has been an Amazon impersonation scam, which sees scammers call to collect people’s personal details under the guise of an issue with their Amazon account. Similar scam calls purporting to be from banks, NBN Co, Telstra and eBay make up the rest of the top five.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the ACMA has had success working closely with telcos to reduce scam calls targeted at their customers, but there was still more to do.
“We have been working hard with the telecommunications industry to get them to stop scams before they reach people,” she said.
“In December 2020 we introduced new rules requiring telcos to identify, trace and block scam calls. To the end of September, telcos have stopped more than 800 million scam calls reaching Australians.
“In July this year we brought in new rules to combat the growing problem of SMS scams. We are actively monitoring the effectiveness of the new rules. Early indications show promising results, with nearly 48 million scam SMS blocked from July to September this year.
“The ACMA’s scam telco action taskforce is also coordinating effort across industry and government on scams minimisation strategies.
“And we are working with our international counterparts on this global invidious issue, most recently at a joint meeting with Canada, US, Hong Kong and Ireland regulators to share strategic insights on current initiatives and cross-border enforcement challenges.
“But regulators and industry must continue to adapt as scammers become increasingly agile, sophisticated and inventive. And all consumers need to exercise caution when dealing with companies by phone or online.
“All five of the top reported scams impersonate trusted and well-known businesses, with scammers often displaying a fake number or sender information on your phone to make the contact look legitimate.
“Many businesses clearly state they will not contact you out of the blue or send messages with links seeking financial information or personal details, so always treat these calls with caution,” Ms O’Loughlin said.
Top 5 scam calls
- Amazon impersonation: Scam calls about an issue with your Amazon account. They claim funds will be taken from your account if you do not act immediately by providing personal information.
- Banking/finance impersonation: Scam calls, emails and SMS claiming suspicious activity, unauthorised debits, or that your account has been suspended. They request personal details to verify your identity.
- NBN impersonation: Scam callers posing as someone from technical support. They claim there is a fault with your internet to get access to your computer and personal information.
- Telstra impersonation: Similar to the NBN scam. Callers pose as Telstra technical support and claim you have issues with your service or internet to access your computer and personal information.
- eBay impersonation: Scammers use a recorded message to claim you have made a purchase that requires a charge to your account. This is to get you to provide to personal information.
How to avoid scams
Do not provide your personal information to an unsolicited caller or sender of a message.
Do not open links in any unsolicited messages you receive.
If the brand has an app you can use instead of receiving messages, consider whether this will work for you. Messages you receive via the app are much more likely to be legitimate.
Even if a message slips into a legitimate message stream on your phone, double-check it’s from the brand concerned.
If in doubt, always contact the business via their publicly available contact details (or the details on your regular bill or transaction record) rather than the details provided by the caller or in a message.
Learn more about National Scams Awareness Week – themed ‘how to spot a scam’ – on the Scamwatch website.
Scammers target everyone. Learn more about how to protect yourself from phone scams on the ACMA website.