26 September 2023

Police join campaign to slam the scams

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NSW Police and Crime Stoppers NSW are directing their supports behind a national campaign to help raise awareness of increasingly sophisticated scams.

In a statement, Crime Stoppers said Australians had lost on average $41 million per month to scams in the first six months of 2022, with phone calls and text messages the most common method used by scammers.

“Scammers are finding new and smarter ways to steal people’s hard-earned money, so it can be difficult to know if a call is a scam or not and its causing financial devastation and emotional harm to individuals, families, and businesses,” Crime Stoppers said.

Chief Executive of Crime Stoppers NSW, Peter Price said the organisation was working with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to help raise awareness of the scams through a new campaign.

“The new campaign leads with ‘consequence’ as a motivation and targets phone call and text scams warning Australians to ‘Say bye bye or kiss your cash goodbye’ and ‘think before you click’,” Mr Price said.

“Scammers use a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly and without thinking it through,” he said.

“This kind of tactic should be a red flag.

“The longer someone is on the phone with the scammer, the more information they extract.”

Mr Price strongly encouraged people to say goodbye and hang up, “hanging up may be the difference between being scammed or keeping your cash”.

He warned that scammers were also using text messages to gain access to personal information, passwords, and credit card details.

“If you receive a text message from an unknown number or entity, take the time to think before you click,” he said.

“Check if it looks legitimate, and if it doesn’t, delete it.”

Assistant national Taxation Commissioner, Tim Loh said many scammers were using the lure of a tax refund to trick people into clicking on a link.

“Our reminder is to guard your personal and financial information and always be careful about links and attachments, even if messages seem legitimate,” Mr Loh said.

“The ATO will never send you an email or SMS with a link to log-in to an online service.”

NSW Crime Stoppers’ two-page fact sheet on how to spot and deal with a phone scam can be accessed at this PS News link.

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