Email spam is often used to carry out fraud. Consumer scams are crimes of dishonesty such as forgery, counterfeiting, online deception and theft that are targeted at people who seek to purchase goods and services. Potential victims include anyone who uses phones, mobiles, computers or the internet. It pays to be suspicious of any offer that sounds too good to be true—it probably is.
Common scams to beware of and avoid include:
- phishing emails—sent from falsified or 'spoofed' email addresses. Many phishing emails often claim to be from a bank, online retailer or credit card company. These emails direct recipients to a website that looks like the real website of a retailer or financial institution, which is designed to encourage the visitor to reveal financial details such as credit card numbers, account names and passwords or other personal information.
- 'Nigerian' scams—appear to come from overseas and ask you to send money in return for a large lump sum being transferred to your bank account
- work-at-home schemes, lottery wins and prizes—require you to send money before claiming them
- pharmaceutical scams—offer 'amazing' products that claim to boost your health, appearance or virility
As part of a whole of government approach to combating fraud and scams targeted at consumers, the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT) was established in 2005. It is made up of 22 government regulatory agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand and also has various government and private sector organisations as partners to increase the level of scam awareness in the community.
Further information about scams and the work of the Taskforce, is at www.scamwatch.gov.au.
Other information about government and initiatives targeting scams and fraud is available from:
If you would like information about how to lodge a report or complaint about spam please visit this page.