Did you know that Australians lost more than $2 billion to scams in 2021? This is despite government, law enforcement, and the private sector disrupting more scam activity than ever before. And more Australians reporting scams to authorities.  

If you think you will never be subject to or fall for a scam, think again. Most folks who fell for financial scams never imagined that they would lose their hard-earned money in this dastardly manner. 

If you wish to protect yourself from the common scams that affect Australians, then keep reading for some tips that can help. 

Hijacking Your Personal Accounts

These scams are common, but they are also becoming increasingly complicated. That’s why you have to be so careful when logging into your important financial accounts using open or public Wi-Fi. Avoid it completely if you can, using only the secure Wi-Fi that you have at home or your office.

But even so, cyberhackers are becoming so sophisticated that they can hack your account even if you choose a secure network. Once these hackers have access to your bank accounts, they can take over your accounts and identities. This can result in you losing all of the money you hold in your accounts (or a big chunk of it) and all sorts of unwanted charges on your credit cards. 

How Can You Avoid This Scam?

The most important thing you can do to avoid these scams is to ensure your accounts are protected with strong passwords. Don’t write these passwords anywhere that a hacker could access.

Do not use the same password across all your accounts and for God’s sake, do not use a simple password like 123456 or password1. There are many reliable password managers like LastPass available nowadays that can store all your passwords and let you know when any of your accounts have been compromised. 

Also, if possible, use a VPN every single time you are accessing your accounts. They are very cheap nowadays, and for an average of $10 a month, you can secure your network even further and ensure no one can access your precious bank accounts. 

Online Dating Scams

No one ever thinks that they will have to take care to protect their funds when going on an online dating site. All you were looking for was love and you ended up losing money – how terrible!

That’s why it’s better to be prepared beforehand for the possibility that you could be subject to such a scam if you aren’t careful. The basic essence of these scams is that you meet someone amazing online, your ideal person even. You spend some time together, a few days or weeks hanging out and chatting online.

After they gain your trust, they inform you that they are in trouble. They need a certain amount of money asap or they are going to have to sell their car, house, grandmother, or something else dire. 

You feel terrible for them and because you’ve formed a bond with them, you believe you should help them out. You send them money through an online transfer app and voila, they take the money and are never heard from again. Your heart is broken and you swear off dating apps forever. 

How Can You Avoid This Scam?

It’s quite simple to avoid these scams. Do not, ever, under any circumstance send money to a person you met online.

No matter how terrible of a situation they are in, do not do it. Just don’t. 

You should even be wary about sending money to a person that you met face-to-face but have known only for a few weeks after meeting on an online dating site. You never know the true intentions of these people. 

If you are going to send them money, make sure it’s money you can afford to lose. And if you can’t afford to lose it, if it’s money you need to retire or to pay your bills, do not send it off to a stranger on the net. 

Sending Funds Overseas

Every one of us, across the entire world, has received these emails from Nigerian princes who need to get money out of their country or some other ridiculous story like that. And they need someone like you, to send cash to it.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? They send you hundreds of dollars and you only need to send them a bit of cash through Western Union or some other online money transfer app to start up the process. 

The scammers use Western Union or apps like that because they are fast and discrete. You don’t need to have proper identification to receive money from these apps and once they have the money, they are gone like the wind. It’s almost impossible to find them after. 

How Can You Avoid This Scam?

The problem with this common scam is that a lot of times these requests for money transfers come from legitimate sources, like your family member, friend, or someone else you love and trust. And therefore, it’s harder to say ‘no’ to such a request.

That’s why there are two things you can do to avoid such scams. First, always confirm with the person directly that they are asking for a money transfer. This means calling them or talking to them directly to enquire about their desperate need for money. 

Second, use secure money transfer apps that are reputable and that will flag suspicious transactions with your bank. If the person refuses to use such an app, you know that they are a scammer instantly.

Online Buying and Selling Scams

With the boom in online shopping, these online buying and selling scams are also becoming quite common. You can guess what they are all about. You see an ad on Instagram or Facebook for an item that looks useful and that you would like to purchase.

You click the link and go through the entire buying process, giving in your credit card, and all that jazz. You wait for the item to arrive at your home. But weeks later, nothing happens.

You go back to the website that you bought from, but there’s nothing there. The website and the Instagram or Facebook profile are non-existent. They have disappeared off the face of this planet, with your money in their pockets. 

This happens more commonly than you might imagine. If you only spent a few dollars to buy something, no big deal. But if you spent hundreds of dollars to buy a MacBook Air or some other pricey item, then you are going to feel that loss quite deeply. 

How Can You Avoid This Scam?

The answer to avoiding online scams isn’t to stop shopping online. There are some great deals to be had online and there are lots of legitimate sellers online that shouldn’t suffer because of the few bad apples. 

If you are going to purchase something from someone on a website like Gumtree where ordinary folks sell used items, then make sure you never send money to them before you have received possession of the item. Always meet with them face-to-face.

Avoid sending money to a foreign seller when renting a holiday house in a faraway place which you can’t inspect. It’s better to deal with reputable online holiday and hotel room booking agents or home rental companies like Airbnb who have protection mechanisms in place. 

Also, inspect the website that you are purchasing from, to ensure that it has a lot of reviews on there, showing that it’s been around for a while. And the same thing with any social media profiles that you purchase from. 

Lottery and Competition Scams

Another common scam to avoid is the lottery or competition. These are implemented either through the post or via email. Scammers will send you a very legitimate-looking letter or email saying that you have won a bunch of money in a lottery or competition.

The key point here: you will not remember entering this competition or lottery and that’s a big hint that this is a scam. All you will need to do, the scammers will say, is share personal details like name, address, and even bank account details so they can send the cash or your dream car over. 

How Can You Avoid This Scam?

The primary thing to remember with this scam – most lottery or competition holders will not send notifications through the mail or via email. It’s just not done. Either they will call you or they will come to your door in person if the amount you’ve won is that substantial. 

As soon as you begin to have doubts, contact the competition or lottery organizations directly and enquire about your winnings. If they have no idea what you are talking about, thank the heavens that you’ve averted getting snagged by a scammer. 

Get Smart about the Common Financial Scams

The main way you can protect yourself from the common financial scams out there is through knowledge. When you know how these scammers try to get at you, then you can avoid getting trapped or duped by them.

If you are searching for a car loan from a reputable online company, then look no further. We wish to put you back in the driver’s seat, despite your bad credit history. Apply now and get moving again.