Victorians are being warned to be alert for phishing scams following a 20 per cent jump in reported losses last year compared with 2017.
Phishing scams are attempts to trick you into giving out personal information such as your bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers.
Crime Stoppers Victoria is partnering with Consumer Affairs Victoria to help stamp out scams.
The Don’t Get Reeled In campaign, launching today across Victoria, raises awareness of phishing scams and the impact they have on our community.
In 2018, phishing scams were the most common scams reported to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.
Of the 24,291 reports only 357 (or 1.5 per cent) resulted in financial loss, demonstrating that the purpose of these scams is to obtain information rather than money.
Consumer Affairs Victoria Executive Director, Sam Jenkin, is reminding all Victorians to think twice before providing their personal details online.
“Phishing scammers may contact you by phone, email, text message or social media,” he said.
They pretend to be a business that you have an account with - such as your bank, phone company or internet provider – and ask you to provide or confirm your personal details.
“To protect yourself, don’t provide any information. Contact the business independently to check whether the call or message is genuine.”
Crime Stoppers Victoria CEO, Stella Smith, said the consequences of phishing scams can be catastrophic and can go far deeper than just financial loss.
“It can include things like identity theft, passwords being stolen and bad credit ratings,” she said.
“They can have extreme emotional implications for those affected.
“Victims may not even know that they have been a victim of a phishing scam until months, even years, after the event.”
If you know of any suspicious behaviour or phishing activity, you can submit your report confidentially to Crime Stoppers Victoria by calling 1800 333 000.
For more information visit Consumer Affairs Victoria’s website.