ACCC new release: 'The Little Black Book of Scams'

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The ACCC has released the latest edition of "The little black book of scams", a user friendly guide that draws attention to a wide variety of scams regularly targeting Australian consumers and businesses in areas such as online, over the phone and door-to-door.

Appealing to a broad audience of business and families alike, the 46-page document includes case-by-case best practices for individual scenarios such as money transfer requests, banking, internet scams, Nigerian scams and lottery scams.

Importantly, it offers tips on how users can best protect themselves from scams, what victims can do to minimise damage in case they are scammed and how they can report a scam.

"Organised crime has found a lucrative new business and Australians continue to fall prey to the criminal activities of global fraudsters and scammers," said Louise Sylvan, deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Chair of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce.

“Whether it’s offers of easy money or great prizes or true love, these sophisticated scammers have learned how to push people's buttons and get a response. New technology means scammers have new ways to contact vast numbers of people and deceive unprecedented numbers,” Sylvan said.

According to ACCC estimates, over the past 12 months $4.7 million was defrauded out of the hands of Australians who fell victim to lottery scams and $3.7 million was lost to online Nigerian scammers, also known as ‘419 scams’ . However an ACCC spokesperson said these figures could be higher as not all incidents are reported.

Additionally, "The Little Black Book of Scams" provides a list of ‘myth busters’ and ‘golden rules’ which help clear up misguided preconceptions. For example, the notion that scams involve large amounts of money is put to bed in the book. The books states that this is not always true and that scammers sometimes target a large number of people to try to get a small amount of money from each person.

Furthermore, the book rejects the idea that scams are always about money. “Some scams are aimed at stealing personal information,” the books advises.

"Scams can come in many forms - mail, email, telephone, over the Internet and door-to-door. It can be as simple as clicking on a computer pop-up for a prize that sends a virus to your computer, or entering a competition that seems legitimate but is really collecting information to steal your money or your identity," Sylvan said.

"Consumers must protect themselves. The key rules are: 'NEVER give your personal information out to unsolicited requests – either online, by email or by phone' and NEVER click on a link in an unsolicited email," she said.

Meanwhile, the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce has launched the Fraud Fortnight, a national campaign to help raise awareness about scams and how users can protect themselves.

During Fraud Fortnight, awareness messages will appear on the radio, newspapers and online which will help users protect their identity hard-earned money.

This year's campaign, will run until 8 March 2008.


ACCC new release: 'The Little Black Book of Scams'
 
 
 
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