Current scams in Australia and how to avoid them

More and more fraudsters are trying to scam people out of their hard-earned money. They're always coming up with new ways of doing so including scams through online sales platforms like Facebook Marketplace, phishing texts and emails and much more. 

Mobile phone security alert checking for scams in Australia

Current scams in Australia

Scammers often offer a product or service that seems too good to be true or pose as legitimate organisations in an effort to steal your personal information, including passwords. It is impossible to list all scams currently being used as there are so many (and then, so many variations to the original scam). Some examples of current scams in Australia are:


Impersonation Scams refer to scammers pretending they are someone else - often from a respected institution like a bank or government organisation, or even a member of your family. In this scam, fraudsters may call or send message pretending to be from an organisation, or posing as a close relative, and then request your passwords, card details and codes to gain access to your accounts.

The calls or texts may come from a mix of phone numbers. Cybercriminals may also use “spoofing” software to make the caller ID name to appear to come from a legitimate number. They might claim to be from an institution you know well - for example Heritage, contacting you about an issue with your account. Or they may pretend to be a close relative of yours who has lost their phone and needs 'help'. They may ask you to transfer money, or to share sensitive information such as your One Time Passwords, PIN, internet banking passwords or personal details.


Phishing’ refers to emails, SMS or phone calls that trick people into giving out their personal and banking information. These messages or calls seem to come from legitimate businesses and are often disguised as banks or other financial institutions or telecommunications providers. The scammers are trying to get information such as bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers, which they will then use to steal your identity.

An example of current phishing scams circulating Australia are:

Recruitment Scam

Ever come across a job advertisement online that seems to good to be true, such as clicking a button on a website or submitting reviews to make money? In this scam, scammers will often ask for a payment in exchange for a guaranteed income. They pretend to be hiring on behalf of high-profile companies and online shopping platforms and impersonate well-known recruitment agencies. Scamwatch has reported that Australian's lost over $9.6 million in 2022 to these types of scams, so it's an important one to look out for!

Extortion Scam

An Extortion Scam happens when a scammer threatens to release valuable private information or get you into trouble unless you provide a form of payment or service to them. These scams are designed to frighten you into handing over your money, and can even include threats to your life. 

There are many types of extortion scams. A perpetrator could obtain something private of yours through deceptive means, such as your password or private personal images (image-based abuse). They could threaten to release these to the public unless you pay money or do something for them. Scammers may also impersonate government officials from agencies like Centrelink, Services Australia and the Department of Home Affairs claiming that you have overdue fees to pay, and scare you with the threat of arrest.

It's important to remember to never send any money as it can be difficult to retrieve and can make matters worse. If you are contacted by someone who is trying to extort you, get in contact with the Police immediately. You can also report the incident to

Investment Scam 

Investment Scams prey on your trust in your online connections and desire to grow your wealth. These scams are ‘allegedly’ promoted by celebrities or by your social media friends and ask you to invest into a wealth-growth opportunity, such as Crypto Currency or Gold. Most of these promotions are too good to be true, and are fabricated with false endorsements to persuade you into handing over money that you won’t see again. If your friend is promoting something you suspect as an investment scam, you should personally check with your friend to ensure their social media site has not been hijacked to issue false endorsements. You should also research the investment strategy carefully and seek professional investment advice.

Romance Scam

A Romance Scam is an online dating scam where the scammer will spend time cultivating a relationship with you online, often over many months. They might then ask you for emergency money to help a sick relative or to assist with foreign aid activities. They may even ask you to pay for them come to Australia to meet you in person.

A common sign of a romance scam is if you're asked to send money overseas to an account in another name than the person you are in contact with. If you suspect a romance scam, you should stop communicating with the person immediately and talk to someone you trust about the situation. You can also report your experience to the ACCC.

Remote Access Scam

A Remote Access Scam often occurs on the phone, where scammers call you claiming to be from a telecommunications company. They will then seek remote access to your computer to conduct offsite maintenance. While they have remote access, they will ask you to log into your internet banking platform and steal your credentials and funds from your account.

Never provide remote access to an unknown caller, even if they say they are from an organisation you are familiar with. Always hang up and call the organisation back on a number that you have found independently if you have even the slightest concern about whether a call is legitimate. 

Advance Fee Scam

An Advance Fee Scam is a form of upfront payment or money transfer scam that can come from anywhere in the world. The scammers offer you a share in a large sum of money that they want to transfer out of their country but first require you to send them funds so that they can undertake the transfer. They may claim the money is trapped in central banks during civil wars or coups, often in countries currently in the news. Alternatively, they could say that you are “entitled to” a share of massive inheritances that are difficult to access because of government restrictions or taxes in the scammer’s country.  The scammers will then “take the money and run”.

Money Mule scam

A Money Mule Scam is when scammers send money to you, and ask you to send it onto someone else. They often want you to send the money on using a gift card or wire transfer. This scam can often be advertised as a ‘work-from-home’ opportunity but is a front for illegal money laundering or attempts at identity theft. Participating in money laundering is a criminal offence.

Emergency Response Themed Scam

Emergency Response Themed Scams come up when scammers try to piggy-back off community emergencies, such as Bushfire relief or COVID-19, to seek donations for non-legitimate purposes. Instead of your donation going to those in need, it goes into the scammers back pocket. Always do your homework before donating or providing any account information online. In Australia, you can find registered charities who are authorised to accept donations on the ACNC Charity Register. 

Heritage Bank and Scams

Our Fraud team works around the clock to keep track of scams, including those that may impact our customers. You can keep up to date on any scams impersonating Heritage Bank on our latest security alerts page

Remember: While Heritage may send information, or confirm receipt of items, by email, we will NEVER send an email that requests a member to share personal security details such as their PIN, CCV number, internet banking passwords or credit card details. Heritage emails may contain links, however these will never lead members to a website that requires them to input personal details. In order to meet our obligations of the Spam Act 2003, all emails will include an unsubscribe link for the member to manage their preferences for contact. 

How to avoid being scammed

Some more tips to help avoid falling into these scams are: 

  • Be wary of spam emails, chain letters and persons purporting to be representatives of Government Departments, financial institutions or other businesses. Check out our article on how to tell if an email is fraud. 
  • Do not give your name, bank account details, copies of your passport, birth certificate or any other personal details or documents to anyone other than for legitimate purposes.
  • If someone contacts you asking for personal information, check carefully that they are legitimate.
  • Be suspicious of any correspondence from overseas asking you to forward large sums of money or advising that you have won a prize.
  • If someone blocks access to your computer or personal files, and then asks for a payment to remove that block, report the incident to the Police.
  • Keep up to date with the types of scams in circulation, so you can identify them if needed.

To learn more about protecting yourself from fraudulent activity, visit our Security and Scam help section or see our latest Heritage security alerts.

You can also register for the Australian Cyber Security Scam Alert Service for individuals, families and businesses. Learn more from the Australian Cyber Security Centre

Related tips 

Scam alerts & fraud protection
Fight scammers with our help. Learn how we protect you from fraud and become savvy at identifying scams with our help guides and security tips.
How to avoid investment scams
Investment scams cost Australians hundreds of millions of dollars each year and research from the Customer Owned Banking Association reveals that both novice and experienced investors may fall vulnerable. So, how do you avoid investment scams in Australia?
Improve online payment security with PayID
Did you know that you can use PayID to reduce your chances of falling victim to a scam? Here's why.

Related products

Was this helpful?