Home / Security / Protect Yourself / How to identify a phone scam

How to identify a phone scam

Attention: open in a new window. Print

Have you received calls from overseas numbers or people pretending to be from the Australian Taxation Office, Microsoft or Centrelink?
Almost 40 per cent of scams in Australia are committed over the phone. Scammers target indiscriminately – no matter what your age, income level or background may be.

Contact UsRequest A Call Back

How can you tell if a phone call might be a scam?

  • If the overall quality of the call is poor
  • If they claim to be from a computer software company wanting access to your computer. Companies do not remotely check you computer unless you have been in contact with them.
  • If the caller is claiming to be from government agencies asking for bills to be paid, particularly in the form of pre-paid gift cards such as iTunes
  • If the caller is using inappropriate pressure – including threats and potentially inappropriate language, as part of the scam
  • Any calls asking for financial details such as credit card for banking details – financial institutions will never call and ask you for this information or your passwords

What should you do?

  • Simply hang up
  • Don’t respond to numbers supplied in an automated call or from numbers you don’t recognise
  • Always be sceptical and if you are unsure the person is who they say they are, hang up and call the organisation directly on an independently verified number (i.e. search the company online via a reputable search engine)
  • Don’t give someone who calls you out of the ordinary any money, personal details or access to your computer
  • Don’t return calls to international numbers unless you know them
  • Don’t pay with an iTunes gift card. No legitimate business in Australia is going to be asked to pay in this way
  • Delete any messages left on your voicemail
  • Speak to someone you trust about the scam call

If you have been scammed, there are ways you can limit your losses – including contacting your financial institution immediately, report the scam to authorities, change your computer passwords.

  Additional Information: