A scam is a dishonest or fraudulent scheme to steal your money or sensitive information. Scammers use all sorts of methods, from online dating and fake shopping websites to get-rich-quick offers and extortion. They succeed because they make the information look real. That’s why anyone can be a victim of a scam.
Scams can involve:
- accessing personal information
- buying or selling
- dating and romance
- fake charities
- jobs and investments
- threats and extortion
- unexpected money
- unexpected winnings.
There are many ways you can minimise the risk of getting scammed:
- Stay alert to the fact that scams exist.
- Know who you’re dealing with and check that the business is legitimate.
- Don’t open suspicious texts or emails, and make sure to delete them. If you accidentally open one, don’t click on its links or attachments.
- Don’t click on suspicious pop-up windows on the internet.
- Don’t respond to phone calls about your computer, and never allow remote access.
- Keep your personal details secure (e.g. shred bills, lock your mailbox and keep passwords safe).
- Keep your mobile devices and computers secure.
- Review your social media privacy and security settings.
- Beware of requests for your details or money.
- Beware of requests for unusual payments.
- Be careful when shopping online (e.g. pay through PayPal whenever possible).
What to do
It’s not your fault if you’ve been targeted by a scammer. The scammer is fully responsible for their offence.
If you’ve been a victim of a scam, call:
- Monash Security on 03 9905 3333 (for immediate help on campus)
- 000 (for immediate help on or off campus).
If you experience, see or hear about a scam, we encourage you to report it to Security Services by calling 03 9902 7777. You’ll also need to:
- immediately stop all contact with the scammer – even if you’re just suspicious and not totally sure it’s a scam
- figure out exactly what personal information the scammer has obtained – you can take immediate steps to limit the damage; for example, by contacting your bank to place a block on your account. But if you’ve already lost money, you’re unlikely to get it back.
If you know someone who has been the target of a scam, you can support them by:
- reassuring them that it’s not their fault – the scammer is fully responsible for their offence
- telling them about the different types of scams to help confirm that they’ve been targeted
- asking what they’d like to do next so they feel as if they’re taking control of the situation
- encouraging them to immediately stop all contact with the scammer
- figuring out exactly what personal information the scammer has obtained.
You can get confidential advice about your options from Security Services. If you know someone who has been scammed, encourage them to do the same.
Victims of scams often feel fear or shame, as well as anger, depression and guilt, and may wish to seek emotional support.
If you’re helping someone deal with being scammed, you may feel frustrated or helpless – especially if the person is in denial. You may wish to discuss this confidentially with a support service.
For more information, see getting help and support.