Fraudster red flags
While there are hundreds of scams out there and scammers are constantly evolving their tactics, there are some core traits that almost all scams include. If you can spot these then you’re well on your way to keeping yourself safe.
Fraudster red flag # 1: Unsolicited contact
Scams often begin with someone contacting you out of the blue. This could be a phone call, email, text message, or even someone knocking on your front door.
With any unsolicited contact, it’s important to verify that the person is who they say they are:
- With digital communications, don’t click any links or download any attachments. Instead, go directly to the organisation’s website to complete any transactions.
- If you receive an unsolicited phone call, never give any of your own identifying information out to someone who calls you and if you’re not 100% sure that a caller is legitimate, hang up.
- If someone calls at your residence, request identification credentials and ask them questions about their organisation. If you're still not comfortable, hang up and call the organisation directly.
Fraudster red flag # 2: The offer is too good to be true
Scams will often promise high returns with low risk for very little financial commitment. All investments involve some degree of risk and if a deal sounds too good to be true, it’s very likely that it is.
Fraudster red flag # 3: Time pressure
Fraudsters will often try to create a sense of urgency to force you to make a decision without taking the time to consider it.
If anyone is pressuring you to make a decision, whether that’s a potential scammer or just a pushy salesman, it’s smart to walk away and give yourself space to think the decision over.
Fraudster red flag # 4: You’re asked to keep quiet
Scammers often try to isolate their victims from their family and friends to take them away from their support network.
If you’re asked to keep quiet about an opportunity that has been presented to you, or about someone you are talking to online, then it could be a red flag that everything is not as it should be.
Fraudster red flag # 5: You’re asked to pay them
A large number of frauds involve victims being asked to pay a fee to unlock a greater reward – an inheritance, a lottery win or a free holiday. In scams targeting classifieds sellers, scammers often over-pay for an item and then ask for a small refund.
In both of these cases, any money that is paid is likely to be lost. If you have already sent the item then it’s likely this will be lost too.
No legitimate business or seller will ask you to pay an upfront fee to receive a prize or to sell something that you own.
Fraudster red flag # 6: They’re unwilling to meet in person
Whether you’re trying to sell a phone through Gumtree, or think you may have met the love of your life through an online dating site , if someone won’t meet in person it may mean they aren’t who they say they are.
Never send money to anyone that you have only met on the internet and if you’re meeting someone for the first time then it’s a good idea to meet in a public place that has security cameras or take a friend with you.
Fraudster red flag # 7: Unusual payment methods
Online scams often request payment in the form of direct money transfers, telegraphic transfer, pre-paid gift cards or cryptocurrency. These forms of payment are very difficult to trace and recall, which means that if they are used to send money to a scammer then it’s very unlikely that it will be recovered.
Fraudster red flag # 8 They don’t check out online
While scammers can be convincing, they are often easy to catch out if you verify their claims online:
- If you have received an unsolicited offer of any type, copying and pasting the text of the message into a search engine may show that it has been used in scams in the past
- If you are talking to a person online but haven’t met them, conduct a ‘reverse’ image search by dragging images from their social media profiles into Google’s image search to see whether they appear in other places on the web. If they do, the images may not belong to the person you are speaking to.
- If they’re a business, you should be able to find them on the Australian Business Register
- If they are offering financial advice then they should have an Australian Financial Services Licence and be listed on the financial advisers register
- If they say they are a charity they should be on the ACNC Charity Register.
If you have been targeted by a scam relating to your Qudos account, visit our webpage how to report fraud to find out who to contact.
Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305. The information in this article is of a general nature and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.