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By Sarah Megginson

15 million Australians have received a fraudulent text or phone call this year

A staggering number of Australians are falling victim to fake text and phone calls.

A nationally representative survey by Finder,of 1,058 respondents revealed 3 in 4 Australians (75%) – equivalent to 15 million people – have received a fraudulent text message or a phone call this year.

Scammers Attack

Worryingly, only 21% reported the scam, while 4% didn’t realise until later it was a hoax.

The research coincides with Scams Awareness Week which runs from 7-11 November and aims to educate consumers on how to spot a scam.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australians lost more than $2 billion to scams in 2021, with around $10 million lost through text messages.

Data from Scamwatch shows more than 50,000 phishing scams have been reported so far in 2022.

Scams are becoming more prevalent in the age of technology.

Aussies have been inundated with fraudulent text and phone calls in recent years, and they know how easy it can be to fall victim to these scams.

Telcos are now taking a more active approach to deterring these scams, but it’s still important to know how to spot one.”

On 30 June 2022, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) registered new rules to require telcos to identify, trace and block SMS scams.

Under these new rules, telcos could face up to $250,000 in fines for not complying with this new code.

Safety measures to avoid being a victim

Aussies should ignore calls from unknown numbers.

Let the caller go to voicemail.

If they leave a number, you can check if it matches a real business online.

Be especially cautious if you get a message in WhatsApp or on Facebook claiming to be from a relative who has lost their phone and now needs help.

This is the so-called 'Mum scam', and is responsible for $2.6 million in losses in the first seven months of the year.

Don't ever reply to or click on links in text messages.

These could link to viruses and other nasties, or fake sites looking to steal your personal data.

Read text messages carefully.


Poor grammar and spelling are often a giveaway that the SMS is fraudulent.

Finder research shows 3 in 5 Australians (61%) have already begun shopping for gifts, with just under 50 days left until Christmas.

In the lead up to Christmas, shoppers are encouraged to be vigilant following a rise in scams.

Sales frenzies can leave room for scammers to take advantage of shoppers rushing to bag a bargain and organise gifts in the leadup to the holiday season.

If you’re looking for the best deals online, you may come across some genuine-looking scam sites selling items at heavily discounted prices.

If you’re unsure if the site is reputable, a quick google search for reviews will generally bring you up to speed and can also help you identify if the products are legitimate.

If you think you’ve been scammed, contact your bank and phone company immediately and report it to Scamwatch.

Tips for avoiding credit card fraud:

  •  Keep your credit card secure. This one is obvious, but know where your card is at all times. Always cover the terminal when entering your PIN and if you've lost your credit card, contact your bank immediately.
  • Regularly review your statement. Although your bank will usually contact you if it spots suspicious transactions on your account (such as a large or overseas transaction), you may catch a fraudster early if you're reviewing your statement. Fraudsters may test your account first by making a small transaction: the sooner you spot any odd listings on your account and report them to your bank, the better.
  • Check your credit report. If you see any listings (such as applications) that you didn't make, contact the relevant card issuer and the credit reporting bureau immediately to investigate the issue and have it removed from your report.
  • Use secure websites. When shopping online look for https:// (notice the 's') at the beginning of the website address instead of http://. This means the website has added security. Check if there are any negative customer reviews or if items are considerably less than the normal online retail price. You could also consider paying through encrypted services such as PayPal which allow you to shop without sharing your financial details with the website.
  • Be wary of suspicious emails, text messages and calls. Suspicious communications will vary, so be vigilant. Don't click links or download attachments unless you are 100% confident of who it's from, never provide your personal details over the phone or via text, and check the contact info to verify the sender (particularly with international numbers).

About Sarah Megginson Sarah Megginson is senior editor of home loans for Finder. She was previously managing editor of Australian Broker magazine, Your Investment Property magazine, and online home loan comparison site, Your Mortgage. Sarah has worked as a finance and property journalist for more than 15 years.
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