Scam and Consumer Rights

Scammers are currently highly active, particularly online and over the phone, and in 2019, Australians lost $634 million to scams. International university students may be disproportionately targeted by scammers, and recently, there have been a number of high-profile scamming events targeting university students, including those at ANU. It's important to stay up-to-date with common scamming techniques and prevention strategies, so that you remain informed and protected.  


What to do if you've been scammed 

It's important to know that if you've been scammed, you are unlikely to get your money back. However, you may be able to limit damage and protect yourself and others from future loss. 

  1. Are you unclear about whether you're being scammed or not? If so, stop sending money immediately, until you can gain control of the situation. 

  1. Contact your financial institution. In some cases, they may be able to prevent or reverse the transaction. They can close your account if the scammer has your details. 

  1. Report the scam. Scams are often not reported, and doing so helps authorities track and address this type of crime. Scams can be reported via the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Scamwatch. You can also report scams to police; ACT Policing can be contacted on 131 444 or by visiting a local station. 

  1. If you are a victim of identity theft, it is important that you act quickly to reduce the risk of financial loss or other damages. See Scamwatch for more information.    

  1. Being scammed can leave you feeling distressed, so please reach out for assistance if you need it. See here for a list of supports available at ANU.  

See Scamwatch's 'Where to get help' page for more detail and information about these steps.  


General Tips and Advice

Scamming techniques have increased in sophistication. Many scam attempts work because they appear legitimate, even to people familiar with scamming. To avoid scams, you should:  

  • Always verify the identity of individuals, businesses, or organisations that you are dealing with over the phone or online. For example, if you receive a call from a person claiming to be representing an organisation, you can hang up and call the organisation yourself on a number you know is legitimate.  

  • Do not open suspicious appearing links or attachments. Be particularly cautious of email and text - scammers employ techniques that can make the name or address appear legitimate.  

  • Keep personal details secure, and be mindful of information about you that is publicly available - for example, on social media. Review your social media privacy settings. 

  • Have unique and secure passwords, or consider a reputable password manager.  


Useful resources for Scams

  • See ANU's page on phone scams targeting students here

  • Scamwatch has more detailed information, tips, and resources on spotting and reporting scams.  

  • See the Australian Government's Moneysmart resources on scams, including information on loan scams and companies you shouldn't deal with. 


Consumer issues 

Australia has a range of consumer laws that dictate how businesses and service providers must respond to faulty goods or services. If you purchase a product or service that does not meet Australian consumer guarantees, you are entitled to a remedy. Retailers cannot decline to help you and refer you to the manufacturer.  

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission provides comprehensive information about your consumer rights and obligations.   

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