Informer: Watch out, there are more scams about

Keep an eye out for scams. Picture: Shutterstock
Keep an eye out for scams. Picture: Shutterstock

Most of us would be familiar with the scam call.

That long pause before a person, who identifies themselves as an employee of a communications or technology company, says there are problems with your internet connection or phone line.

But scams are getting more sophisticated these days.

There are emails that look almost identical to the company they are supposedly from and text messages from delivery services with a link attached asking you to click and track a parcel that has been delayed.

That last one has been particularly prevalent during COVID lockdowns.

The general rule of thumb is, if you think it's a scam, don't click or respond.

This week marks National Scams Awareness Week - and the best way to raise awareness about scams is to talk more about them.

Queensland Attorney General Shannon Fentiman said scams were "big business".

"By the end of August, Scamwatch had received over 190,000 reports from Australian consumers who had lost over $192 million this year - that is a 95 per cent increase in losses since this time last year," she said.

There are literally hundreds of scams on the go covering everything from tax returns and COVID jabs to fake deliveries and AFP investigations.

One of the most common scams nowadays is the fake puppy.

Scammers will take money for a dog that doesn't exist and simply disappear, leaving families upset, thousands of dollars short and no wagging tail in sight.

If you're looking for a pet, don't forget about local rescues and shelters.

Last year's lockdown led to a documented surge in the number of Australians adopting pets, but as restrictions have eased, shelters across NSW have reported that people were trying to return the animals they bought during lockdown.

But it's not just scammers attracted to Aussie shores.

A Senate hearing has been told that Australia is at risk of becoming a priority destination for money laundering as our financial crime laws lag behind the rest of the world.

Labor senator Deborah O'Neill said during the hearing that money laundering was costing the economy upwards of $50 billion a year, with funds linked to drug and sex trafficking and child exploitation being legitimised domestically.

"This is quite significant for Australia as an international global citizen that we come to the party and catch up to the game," Senator O'Neill said.

Australia might be ranked first for money launderers, but for climate policy we are ranked last.

Needless to say, these rankings aren't something we should be proud of.

The annual climate change performance index put Australia's policy decisions behind China, the world's biggest emitter of fossil fuel, as well as the other 56 countries and the European Union which together generate 90 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

So when it comes to protecting yourself online, don't lag behind like our climate change policies, stay up to date and watch out for scams.

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