QUEENSLANDERS are being ripped off by fake charities, sparking a fresh warning during Scams Awareness Week which runs from November 7 – 11.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said scammers are constantly finding new ways to swindle victims, that’s why this year’s theme is ‘How to spot a scam’.
“Queenslanders are losing money to scammers at an increasing rate,” the Minister said.
“Scammers are becoming more sophisticated, and more people are falling victim to them.”
“That’s why we need Queenslanders to know how to spot a scam and know what to do if they think they’ve been scammed.”
Last year, Australians reported to Scamwatch more than $323 million in losses to scammers, this includes more than $58 million lost by Queenslanders. Alarmingly, this is almost double the number of losses compared to the year before.
The scams that Australians are losing the most to are investment scams, dating and romance scams, and remote access scams where the victim is tricked into giving remote access to their computer, phone, or tablet only to have their private information stolen.
The most common ways scammers targeted their victims was by phone, SMS, and email.
The Minister said many people to feel ashamed or embarrassed if they find they have fallen victim to a scam.
“We need people talking, sharing their stories and raising awareness about scams,” she said.
“A simple conversation could stop a friend, family member, neighbour, or even yourself from falling victim to a scam”.
“This will not only help to reduce the stigma around being scammed, but importantly, it can prevent scams from happening in the first place.”
The Minister said Queenslanders have reported losses of almost $195,000 to fake charity scams this year alone, followed by Victoria reporting over $82,000 and New South Wales reporting more than $38,000 in losses.
“Worryingly Queenslanders have reported the highest number of losses to fake charity scams than any other state or territory this year – more than five times the reported losses by New South Wales.”
“We know scammers are opportunistic following natural disasters such as the February floods – especially when it comes to donation scams,” she said.
Salvation Army spokesperson Simon Gregory said the organisation is seeing increasing evidence of people willing to take advantage of the public’s generosity.
“The Salvation Army, like all registered charities, work hard to build trust and goodwill with our donors and supporters. These scams only erode trust and make it harder for those doing the right thing,” he said.
Legitimate charities are registered – you check an organisation’s credentials at the Queensland Government charity register and at the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) website to see if they are a genuine charity.
Queenslanders are encouraged to check www.scamwatch.gov.au regularly to stay updated on the latest scams and how to avoid them.
Know the signs of a scam:
- If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Messages and emails asking you to click on a link or open an attachment.
- Someone asking for your passwords or personal information such as banking details.
- A caller asking for remote access to your computer or phone.
- Requests for payment – scammers can often stress urgency in acting on the payment.
- Offers to make fast money with little to no risk.
If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank.
For more information on Scams Awareness Week visit: www.scamwatch.gov.au/scamsweek