Who’s Really There? Scams Awareness Week 2023

CRM Brokers is proud to support Scams Awareness Week and this year’s campaign with the focus on impersonation scams. Approximately 80% of all scams reported to Scamwatch include some form of impersonation of a legitimate entity. Scammers can impersonate any organisation or brand and impersonation scams can be received through a variety of channels, so the theme has broad relevance and application.

Scams Awareness Week is an annual scams awareness raising campaign run by the ACCC on behalf of the Scam Awareness Network (SAN).  This year will be the first delivered by the National Anti-Scam Centre.

Scams Awareness Week 2023 key messages on impersonation scams

What is an impersonation scam?
  • An impersonation scam is where scammers pretend to be trusted businesses, friends or family to steal your money or personal information.
  • Impersonation scammers can reach you on all mediums such as text message, websites, social media, email and phone calls.
  • Scammers often pretend to be government officials, well-known companies, charities, celebrities, law enforcement or even family and friends


Methods of impersonation

Impersonation scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and therefore harder to identify:

  • Scammers can use technology to make their calls appear to come from a legitimate phone number.
  • Their texts can appear in the same conversation thread as genuine messages from an organisation.
  • Websites for legitimate organisations can be cloned to look like the real thing.
  • Emails can be sent with fake sender addresses to appear to come from trusted sources.
  • Social media profiles can be established using another person or an organisation’s details and images.
  • Documents can be forged to make you think you’re dealing with a real person or business.
  • Impersonation scammers may know or claim to know some information about you and use this to convince you they are legitimate.


Key signs of impersonation scams
  • You receive a message that asks you to click on a link that takes you to a webpage asking for your username, password, or personal information.
  • You are asked to provide personal details or money urgently.
  • An organisation that you think is real, tells you there has been an unauthorised transaction or asks you to confirm a payment that you didn’t make.
  • A business asks you to use a different bank account and BSB from the last payment you made with them.
  • You’re contacted by someone saying they are from a government department or law enforcement, and they threaten you with immediate arrest, deportation, or ask you to pay money.
  • You’re asked to transfer money to an account to ‘keep it safe’ or for ‘further investigation’.
  • A sale, investment or job offer looks too good to be true.


How to avoid Impersonation scams
  • Don’t automatically assume the person you are dealing with is who they say they are.
  • Slow down and ask yourself “who’s really there?”
  • Don’t click on links in text messages.
  • Immediately cut contact with anyone who tries to threaten or intimidate you.
  • Don’t open or download any attachments or apps if instructed as these can install malicious software on to your computer or phone giving access to your personal information, data, and accounts.
  • Consumers are urged to ‘Stop, think, protect’.
    • Stop – Don’t give money or personal information to anyone if unsure.
    • Think – Ask yourself could the message or call be fake?
    • Protect – Act quickly if something feels wrong.


How to verify who you’re dealing with?
  • Independently verify who you’re dealing with before you give money or personal information by either:
    • Contacting the person or organisation directly using contact details you’ve found yourself on the organisation’s official website.
    • Accessing the organisations’ secure, authenticated portal or app (never via a link).
  • If someone you know sends a message to say they have a new phone number:
    • Try to call them on the existing number you have for them.
    • Message them on the new number with a question only they would know the answer to. That way you will know if they are who they say they are.
  • Watch out for slight variations in Caller or Sender IDs and web addresses like dots, special characters, or numbers.
  • Do online research of people and organisations who you’ve only dealt with online before paying any money. Search the name online together with the word ‘scam.’
  • Check for the correct registration details of organisations through registers such as the Moneysmart financial advisors register and the Australian charity register for charities.


Victim support
  • Contact your bank or card provider immediately to report the scam. Ask them to stop any transactions.
  • IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber support service. They can help you make a plan (for free) to limit the damage. Call them on 1800 595 160 or visit their website to find out more.
  • If a scam is causing you problems with debt talk to a financial counsellor. Moneysmart provides a list of free and confidential services to help you get your finances back on track.
  • Being scammed is a horrible experience and it can happen to anyone. If you need someone to talk to, reach out to family and friends or you can contact Lifeline (13 11 14) or Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636).
  • Tell your friends and family of your experience to protect them from becoming a victim.


Reporting impersonation scams
  • Once you have secured your details, you can help us try to stop the scam or to warn others by reporting the scam to the National Anti-Scam Centre via Scamwatch.gov.au.
  • By reporting scams to Scamwatch you help protect others and assist us to disrupt and stop scammers – 30% of scams currently go unreported.
  • The information you give us when you make a report helps the National Anti-Scam Centre to identify the scams that are causing the most harm to Australians.
  • We use the information to understand how scammers work, who they harm and who we need to work with to disrupt and stop them.
  • If you provide your consent, we also share information with law enforcement and other regulators here and overseas to help them investigate and prosecute scammers.
  • You can make a report via Scamwatch anonymously or on behalf of another person.
  • You can also make an official report to the police online.
  • Report scams to the digital platform where they were encountered to assist with removal of the offending content.


The important role of business in scam prevention
  • Impersonation scams can cause your business to suffer reputational damage or loss of revenue., not to mention the financial and emotional toll they can have on your customers.
  • Business owners are not immune to being targeted by scammers. In fact, scammers impersonate well-known businesses and brands by creating fake websites, publishing fake ads, and sending fake communications that look just like the real thing.
  • If your business has been the subject of impersonation by scammers, Scamwatch has published guidance to support you to deal with impersonation of your business online


Stay Smart – Act Now

A cyber insurance policy should be part of every successful business’s risk management framework. Cyber insurance is not the first line of defence; it is designed to protect a business when it’s IT security, policies and procedures fail to stop an attack.

Don’t wait until it’s too late – click here to obtain a Cyber Insurance quote online in a matter of minutes.

If you have any further questions regarding Cyber Insurance and how it can protect your business, contact CRM Brokers on 1300 880 494.


Stay Informed – Connect with us on LinkedIn