Scams have become a common and unfortunate reality in the past 20+ years, posing a major risk to both individuals and businesses. With sophisticated techniques and evolving strategies, scammers are constantly adapting to take advantage of not just those who seem more susceptible to scams, but everyday people going about their daily lives. From emails to phone calls and even household visits, scammers have mastered the art of deception, leaving many people distressed and with empty wallets.

Common Scams in Australia:

  • Phishing emails and texts
    Phishing remains one of the most prevalent scams in Australia, and it’s safe to say most people have, at some time or another, been the target of a phishing scam.

    This scam involves a scammer impersonating legitimate organisations to trick you into clicking a link or providing personal details such as your banking information. Have you ever received a suspicious message claiming an account has been suspended, a package couldn’t be delivered, or you have an unpaid bill? These are perfect examples of a phishing scam.

    In 2023, phishing scams were the most reported scam in Australia with almost 100,000 reports made to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and over $25 million dollars lost.

  • Investment scams
    Out of all the various types of scams, Australian’s lost the most amount of money to investment scams, over $275 million in 2023 alone!

    Investment scams promise high returns with low risks targeting people looking to make a quick financial gain. These scams will usually come about in the way of a phone call, fake news stories such as celebrities ‘recommending’ a money-making scheme, emails and online ad’s with fake customer testimonials.

    Investment scams can be the most devastating with life savings handed over for the ‘investment’ leading to financial ruin for many victims.

  • Romance Scams
    While they might be hard to spot initially, scammers will go to great lengths to build what feels like the romance of a lifetime, showering you with loving words, sharing ‘personal information’ about themselves, and even sending you gifts. Once they have your trust, they will start to ask for money or gift cards, claiming they’re in a difficult predicament and need cash fast. Once they have your money and your accounts are drained, they too are gone.

    Romance scams may often go unreported with people feeling embarrassed to come forward, however these kind of scams can have big financial and psychological consequences. In 2023, 3,400 reports were made with a staggering $33 million dollars lost to this type of scam.

Scams we saw in 2023

  • Bank impersonation scams
    Since 2022 there has been a surge in bank impersonation scams. The ACCC’s Scamwatch has said scammers are using new technology to trick their victims, making phone calls that appear to come from the bank’s legitimate phone number or by sending a text that appears in the same conversation thread as genuine bank messages.

    There have also been instances where people have reported someone ‘from the bank’ came directly to their home stating their credit card had been compromised and to hand it over for disposal, only to find out their card had been maxed out with spending.

    It is important to understand Auswide Bank will never ask you for your online banking password, card PIN or SMS verification codes. We will never ask you to transfer funds and will never make an unexpected house visit. If you ever have any concerns about a text message or an incoming call from someone claiming to be from Auswide Bank, hang up and contact us directly.

  • Loyalty program scams
    Last year saw a new scam targeting customers of loyalty points programs such as Qantas Frequent Flyer, Telstra and Coles. The scam works by sending a text message or email stating the loyalty points are about to expire and includes a link to a fake website prompting customers to login and provide their credit card details to access and use their loyalty points.

    Not only do the scammers steal you points, they will also steal any personal information you entered when logging in, putting your other accounts as risk that may use the same login information.

  • Job scams
    Employment related scams were on the rise in 2023 targeting students, culturally and linguistically diverse people and those looking to earn more money to help manage increased costs of living.

    The scam usually comes through encrypted messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and will mask themselves as a real organisation or recruiter promising short hours and high pay working from home. The scammer will ask you to make upfront payments for a ‘starter’ kit or ‘training’ and you may even be asked to provide identification such as a passport or driver’s licence, putting you as risk of financial loss and identity theft.

Scam trends to cautious of in 2024:

  • Deepfake and AI-based scams
    Advances in artificial intelligence and deepfake technology have enabled scammers to create convincing fake audio and video content. Like the ‘Hi Mum’ text message scam of 2022, these new scams will appear to be from a loved one in serious trouble needing funds urgently. If you receive a call like this that seems suspicious, hang up and call the person you know directly.

  • Ticket scams
    As headline acts come to Australia and fans miss out on buying tickets, they may find it tempting to purchase them online from unknown sellers. Often this type of scam is seen on social media platforms with the scammer commenting on posts saying they are selling tickets, or hacking random user accounts to sell fake tickets to their family and friends.

  • QR Code phishing scams
    As people have become more aware of suspicious links in emails and texts, scammers have adapted to instead trick you into scanning a QR code which contains the malicious link. Similar to traditional phishing scams, the scammer will pose as an organisation asking you to scan the code in an attempt to obtain your personal information or spread a virus to your devices. These QR code scams can come through as emails but can also be found in public places where scammers can replace legitimate QR codes with their own fraudulent one. 

Tips to protect yourself from scams:

As online threats and scams evolve, proactive measures such as cybersecurity awareness, skepticism towards unsolicited texts, emails and phone calls, taking steps to verify information and staying informed about new scams can help you from becoming a victim to one. Additional steps to help protect yourself include:

  • Updating your passwords
    Aim for a password that is at least 12 characters long with a mix of upper-case and lower-case letters, symbols and numbers. You should avoid using the same password across multiple accounts.

  • Enabling two-factor authentication
    While a strong password will help prevent access to your account, two-factor authentication is an additional layer of security that will give you more protection than just a password alone. The first factor is generally a pin or password to log in, and the second is either biometrics (fingerprint, face or retina recognition) or a code sent to you via SMS or email.

  • Using PayID
    If you need to be paid by someone but would prefer not to give out your account and BSB number, you can create a PayID using your phone number, email address or ABN if you're a business.

  • Never clicking on suspicious links
    If you’ve received a suspicious link or attachment from an unknown number via text or email do not click on it. If in doubt, do an online search of the phone number to see if it has been reported as a scam.

  • Checking your statements
    Check your bank account and credit card statements regularly to spot any suspicious or unknown transactions. If you see a transaction you know was made fraudulently, contact your bank immediately.


Auswide Bank Ltd AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 239686. This information provides general advice only. We do not provide advice based on any consideration of your personal objectives, needs or circumstances.