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Scams How can we help protect young Australians from scammers

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1 Scams How can we help protect young Australians from scammers
Scams How can we help protect young Australians from scammers? Greg Trengove Outreach Manager ACCC

2 Overview The ACCC and ACFT Scam facts Scams verses spam
Why scams succeed Common types of scams Scam education Scam deterrence Golden rules Reporting scams What if you have been scammed? The ACCC’s Youth strategy

3 Who is the ACCC? The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission
A national law enforcement agency Administers & enforces the Trade Practices Act What do we do? Promote competition Protect consumers Regulate certain infrastructure Administer and enforce fair trading laws that govern business dealings with consumers and other businesses

4 What is the ACFT? The Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce
20 agencies working together to fight scams Three main focus areas Scam Education – Annual scams campaign Scam Deterrence/Disruption/Enforcement Scam Research ACFT members Attorney General's Department Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Communications and Media Authority Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Chair) Australian Institute of Criminology Australian Securities and Investments Commission Australian Federal Police The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Australian Taxation Office just joined State and territory governments Australian Capital Territory Office of Fair Trading Consumer Affairs Victoria New South Wales Office of Fair Trading Northern Territory Department of Justice Queensland Office of Fair Trading South Australian Office of Consumer and Business Affairs Tasmanian Office of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading Western Australian Department of Consumer and Employment Protection New Zealand Government New Zealand Commerce Commission Scamwatch New Zealand (New Zealand Ministry of Consumer Affairs)

5 A few Facts about Scams In any given year
6 million Australians are exposed to scams 800,000 fall victim in some way Almost $1 billion in losses Many scams are Mass-marketed Global in nature – originating overseas Highly sophisticated Organised crime Research undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics - Personal fraud in Australia - ABS 2007 A large proportion of this money goes overseas

6 A few more Scam facts People often keep their decision to respond to scams private Victims often have better than average knowledge in the area of the scam content Victims spend more time and cognitive effort analysing scam offers than non-victims People decreasingly consider scams to be criminal activity First three points from a UK OFT report The Psychology of scams – May 2009 Last point from the ACFT survey conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology in 2009 – a reduction in the percentage of survey participants that considered scams to constitute criminal activity – compared with 2008 survey results Large numbers of scams go unreported as a result

7 The changing nature of Scams
Scams are increasingly: Prominent Sophisticated Dynamic Personally targeted Cause significant financial and other harm to Australian consumers and business

8 Scam verses Spam Scams attempt to steal your money or identity by stealing your personal details Spam is unsolicited s or sms Spam may be used to deliver scams Spam may also deliver malicious software to computers and mobile devices

9 Why do Scams succeed? Seduction - They appeal to your needs or desires and try and push those buttons Deception - They look like the real thing by using legitimate looking symbols or language to con you into giving money or information Nobody is immune – people from all backgrounds, ages and income levels fall victim to scams Scams can be designed to steal your money or personal details. Personal information includes credit card and bank account details, passport details and name and address details. This is known as ‘identity theft’. Identity fraud generally refers to the use of a stolen or assumed identity to gain goods, services, money and other benefits, or to avoid obligations. By using your personal details, scammers can sometimes take out loans, claim welfare benefits or run up debts in your name. These activities can damage your credit rating, making it difficult for you to borrow money or get a credit card; and could also actually cost you money. Why do scams succeed? Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels across Australia. There is no one group of people who are more likely to become a victim of a scam. If you think you are 'too clever' to fall for a scam, you may take risks that scammers can take advantage of. Scams primarily succeed because of two things. Deception scams often look legitimate or like the real thing. Seduction - It appears to meet your need or desire. Scammers manipulate you by ‘pushing your buttons’ to produce the automatic response they want. They play on emotional or societal triggers to get a response

10 Remember: If it sounds to good to be true – it usually is!
Three dangerous myths 1. Companies, businesses & organisations are legitimate, trustworthy bodies – vetted by the government 2. All websites are legitimate businesses 3. There are some secret short cuts to wealth 1. Companies, businesses & organisations are legitimate, trustworthy bodies – vetted by the government 2. All websites are legitimate businesses 3. There are some secret short cuts to wealth 1. Companies, businesses & organisations are legitimate, trustworthy bodies – vetted by the government 2. All websites are legitimate businesses 3. There are some secret short cuts to wealth x x x x x Remember: If it sounds to good to be true – it usually is!

11 Consumer scams Lotteries, sweepstakes and competitions
Job and employment scams Golden investment opportunities Sports investment scams Money transfer requests Banking, credit and online account scams Internet scams Mobile phone scams Health & medical scams Door-to-door scams

12 Business scams Domain name renewal scams
Directory or unauthorised advertising False billing scams Overpayment scams Faxback scam Sports investment scams

13 Commonly reported Scams
Scams commonly reported Advance fee fraud Phishing Pyramid Schemes Lotteries, competitions and fake prizes Work from home or employment/small business opportunity scams are increasing

14 Money Transfer Scams Also Advance fee fraud or Nigerian scams
Requests to help transfer money Camouflaged as an employment opportunity Offered a percentage of funds Required to pay taxes or fees before ‘paid’ Provide bank account details – then stripped Can be money laundering which is illegal

15 Phishing, Mishing and Vishing
All are attempts to steal personal information to commit fraud and ultimately your money. Phishing - uses links or attachments in s to trick you into providing personal or banking details. Mishing uses your mobile phone (sms etc) to secure information. Vishing uses Voice over Internet Protocal technology to steal your details. Scammers pose as bank, government, or other financial institution official to urge you to click on a link to update your personal profile or 'validate' or 'confirm' your personal details. Genuine banks and organisations will NOT contact you by to request confidential and personal information. If a bank or organisation sends you a genuine request for some information, they should address you by name and not refer to you as 'account holder' or 'customer'. A genuine bank or organisation should take good care to ensure that any or message they send to you does not contain typing errors and grammatical mistakes—many scammers make silly mistakes.

16 Scams education research
People may be closed to general scams messaging as they believe they are already fully informed Messages outlining how specific scams work are more effective Personal stories create engagement & resonance Targeting educational material to those vulnerable to scams most effective Effective scam education requires similar techniques to those used to market scams Motivational & cognitive approaches necessary ACFT commissioned research in 2008 to inform the 2009 Scams awareness campaign - Colmar Brunton: UK OFT Psychology of scams report May 2009

17 Scams - Education SCAMwatch Little black book of scams
Scams fact sheets Phishing Money laundering Lotteries, sweepstakes and competitions Sports investment scams Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce annual scams awareness campaigns. Sports investment scams – Multi-agency taskforce to crack down on sports arbitrage and sports investment scams ACCC Queensland Office of Fair Trading, Queensland Police, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Australian Taxation Office to target these rackets." Operation Marble a swoop on a number of Gold Coast 'firms' which proved to include post boxes and serviced offices. Up to $20 million may have been lost by Australian consumers in such schemes The intelligence gathered in the operation is assisting agencies to devise future strategies for compliance and enforcement actions under their respective legislation. These schemes involve gambling on sporting events, usually between two teams.  Promoters claim that by placing one bet for each outcome with different betting companies, it's possible for you to always make a profit. They make out they are genuine investments when they are just gambling. Launched the new fact sheet in June to warn consumers Australia-wide to think about how much they could lose if they take part in these schemes.

18 SCAMwatch Transferred from Treasury in 2005
Redeveloped and relaunched in 2006 Purpose of SCAMwatch Informs consumers and small businesses how to recognise, avoid and report scams Identifies and explains a variety of common scams that regularly target Australian consumers and small business and tips to avoid them. Background on SCAMwatch: The SCAMwatch website has been administered by the ACCC since its transfer from Treasury in late Following a significant review by the Consumer Strategies Section, the re-vamped SCAMwatch was launched in October 2006. . SCAMwatch identifies and discusses a variety of common scams that regularly target Australian consumers and small business in areas such as phishing, online banking, fake lotteries, employment scams etc.

19 Features of SCAMwatch
Common scams targeting Australians (left hand side) On the left hand side of the web page, information about a number of common scams is available to help consumers protect themselves from scams. Radar alerts The purpose of the radar alert is to warn consumers and businesses about any topical and/or prevalent scams. For example, following a dramatic increase in complaints received from doctors’ surgeries/clinic in relation to medical directory scams, a radar alert was issued recently. All radar alerts are also sent to subscribers. Victim stories Victim stories are based on real experiences of consumers who have fallen victim to scams. The purpose of these stories is to help people avoid scams by raising the awareness levels of these scams and to highlight any warning signs. Report a scam A range of contact details for relevant government agencies is provided, including state offices of fair trading and ASIC. Little black book of scams The Little black book of scams highlights a variety of popular scams that regularly target Australians and can be downloaded from our website.

20 SCAMwatch key features
Radars alerts – provide warnings of emerging scams Victim stories – attempt to establish relevance and resonate messages Report a scam – where to report different scams How to protect yourself – tips to avoid being scammed See a scam – example scams illustrate scammer tricks ACFT Portal for the annual scams awareness campaign Scams target you page – shows anyone can be a victim SCAMwatch redevelopment Currently evaluating the website for possible redevelopment Assessing the requirement for new content and features New business scam content New victim stories Bulletin board

21 See a scam - Phishing Annotated phishing scam example available on the SCAMwatch website: By providing annotated scam examples, it gives the consumer an idea of what the scam looks like. The purpose of the notes is to highlight any warning signs and things to look out for to help consumers recognise scams.

22 Scams Target You!

23 2010 ACFT campaign Main features of the 2010 ACFT campaign:
An ACCC scams report A broad scams awareness media campaign A media event like the 2009 Fraud Forum A private, government and community partner program to deliver key scams awareness messages Developing SCAMwatch as the portal About ACFT SCAMwatch is the web portal to the annual Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT) awareness campaign. The ACFT was formed in March 2005 and comprises of 19 (now 20 with ATO) government regulatory agencies and departments with responsibility for consumer protection. The ACFT also has a range of community, non-government and private sector organisations as partners. The purpose of the awareness campaign is to raise consumer awareness about the increasing dangers of scams and the steps they can take to protect themselves from scams. The 2009 campaign ran from 2 to 8 March, was kicked off by a Fraud Forum that included speakers from overseas to highlight emerging scams, the changing nature of scams and The 2008 campaign focused on scams that seduce and deceive consumers with promises of great prizes, true love or easy money. Information about the 2009, 2008 or 2007 campaigns are available on the SCAMwatch website. During the ACFT campaign, links to ACFT member agencies and the names of government, private and community ACFT partners are loaded up on the SCAMwatch website.

24 Scam Disruption Education designed to minimise the impact of scam activity by empowering consumers and business to avoid scams Disruption is aimed at reducing the instances of scam offers by targeting the activity of scammers Includes all action taken to pursue scammers (Enforcement - Securing funds) Enforcement is difficult due to jurisdiction

25 Scam Research Research informs education and disruption initiatives
Research streams Reasons why people respond to scams Emerging scam trends and practices Detriment of scams (financial and other) Efficiency of education and disruption practices

26 Golden Rules No guaranteed ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes
Don’t agree to offers or deals straight away Don’t rely on glowing testimonials Don’t hand over money or sign anything before doing some homework Get independent advice if an offer involves Time Money Commitment Never send money, account or credit card details to someone you do not know and trust Do not follow links, open attachments or respond to spam (unsolicited) s or SMS – delete them Always be sceptical - If it looks too good to be true it probably is!

27 Where to report Scams Police for fraud, theft and other crimes
ASIC for financial or investment scams ATO for income tax scams or identity theft Banks for banking and credit card scams Consumer and Business Affairs for local scams ACMA for spam s or SMS ACCC for scams from interstate or overseas or if you are unsure who to contact Contact details available on SCAMwatch under ‘report a scam’

28 If you have been scammed
Reduce the damage: If you have been tricked into signing a contract or by a door-to-door seller call Consumer & Business Affairs. Contact your bank immediately if you think someone has got hold of your account or credit card details or you have sent money via electronic funds transfer. If you have used a wire service to send money to a scammer – contact the provider immediately. If your computer has been compromised – run system and virus check, change passwords, upgrade security, seek assistance from a computer professional. Mobile phone scams – contact your mobile phone provider.

29 Targeting young people
ACCC is scoping a Youth Strategy Evaluating the issues, messages and communication channels to more effectively engage with young Australians Youth focus groups Looking at Facebook and resources for schools/teachers Scams one of the issues identified

30 Questions? Thank you for your time
If you have any questions about the ACCC, ACFT Scams or SCAMwatch or would like to provide feedback contact: Visit SCAMwatch Visit the ACCC website Call the ACCC Infocentre Thank you for your time

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