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Financial scams in 2024: What we’ve seen and what’s to come

09 July 2024
• 6 minute read
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Financial scams have become increasingly common and sophisticated. From everyday technology to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, scammers use anything at their disposal to relieve people of their hard-earned money.

The good news is that Australians are becoming more aware and more educated on the latest scams circulating the country.

So, what are the current scams, and what lies ahead?

Here, we’ll outline the list of scams in Australia so far this year, provide protection tips, and predict emerging threats for the rest of 2024.

Common scams of 2024

In the first five months of 2024, Australians lost more than $92 million to scams according to Scamwatch.

Here are some that keep raising their ugly heads.

Fake business invoice scams

One of the scams we’ve witnessed this year involves fake business invoices. Scammers send fraudulent invoices that appear legitimate, hoping businesses or individuals will pay them without realising they’re fake. These invoices often mimic real business by reproducing their logos and ABNs, making them hard to spot.

Security tip: Check directly with the business before paying an emailed invoice , and pay using PayID to their ABN.

Fake celebrity online investments

Scammers exploit the fame of celebrities by promoting fake investment opportunities. These scams usually appear on social media and feature fake endorsements from famous faces. How do they do it? Using Artificial Intelligence, scammers create deepfake videos of the celebrity – impressions that are very hard to tell apart from the real person.

These realistic videos lure victims with promises of high returns, only for the invested money to go into the scammer’s pockets.

Security tip: Never act on investment advice you’ve come across on social media, no matter how genuine it might seem.

Ticket sale scams

High-demand events like Taylor Swift concerts have become prime targets for scammers. In fact, hundreds of Australians purchased fake Taylor Swift tickets from fraudulent sellers. Scammers take advantage of people’s desperation for what might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Security tip : Buy from an authorised ticket seller and look for secure payment options such as PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay instead of giving your credit card details.

The biggest scams of 2024

Scams can affect victims in different ways, but here are some of the scams that are most rife and have had the biggest financial impact.

Investment scams

Investment scams have caused the highest financial losses in 2024. These scams often involve convincing schemes that promise substantial returns on investments. Victims are persuaded to part with significant sums of money, only to find out later that the investment opportunity was a fraud. People can lose their entire savings to these scams, leaving a lifelong financial and emotional impact.

Security tips:

  1. Never commit to an investment on the spot. Take your time to research and verify the opportunity and watch out for fake testimonials.
  2. Before investing, seek professional advice from a financial advisor registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
  3. Verify that the company holds an Australian Financial Services licence.
  4. Check official lists of companies to avoid and don't follow any suspicious instructions about what to tell your bank, friends, or family.

Phishing scams

Phishing is still the most common type of scam. These scams typically involve emails or SMS messages that appear to come from legitimate sources, such as banks or businesses. The messages urge recipients to provide personal or bank details, leading to identity theft or financial loss.

Security tips:

  1. Never give your bank details or personal information in response to unsolicited requests.
  2. Never use links in emails or SMS messages to log in to online banking.
  3. Delete suspicious messages immediately to avoid falling into a scam trap.
  4. Avoid calling any phone numbers listed in the email or text message as these are likely to be fake. Google search for the business’s contact details instead.

False billing scams

False billing, including fake business invoice scams, is another major threat. Scammers send out invoices that look genuine, hoping recipients will pay without verifying the details. This method is effective because it exploits the routine nature of making payments.

Watch out for fakes. Some scammers pose as real businesses that you’ve dealt with before. Hackers can gain access to a business’s emails, then, playing on the trust you’ve built, send fake bills or even change the payee details on invoices you’re expecting.

Security tip: If you receive an invoice that you know nothing about, don’t pay it until you’re sure it’s legitimate.

Protect yourself against scams

Thankfully, when you’re a customer with Great Southern Bank, there are some easy steps to take in online and mobile banking to protect yourself against scams.

Here are three security features you can use:

1. Log in to Online Banking and select ‘Notification Settings’ from the left-hand menu. You’ll then be able to easily set up your account, card and security notifications.

2. Set up security questions for an extra layer of protection.

  • Log in to Online Banking
  • On the ‘Account Overview’ screen select ‘Services’
  • Choose ‘Security Questions’ then ‘Edit Your Security Questions'.

We’ll send a one-time security code to your registered mobile phone or email to enable editing mode.

3. Temporarily lock your card if you’ve misplaced it, or report it lost or stolen. You can do this quickly and easily in the ‘Cards’ section of online or mobile banking.

Predicted scams for the rest of 2024

Much like predicting the weather, there are some scams we can see coming and others that come out of the blue. Here’s our best estimate of what’s in store for the remainder or 2024.

More phishing

Phishing scams are expected to continue, especially around busy shopping periods like Black Friday and Christmas. Scammers will likely exploit the increased online shopping activity, using professional-looking websites that are actually fake to deceive consumers.

ATO scams

Tax time means scam time. We often sees a surge in scammers pretending to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Scams can include fake emails or phone calls claiming that you owe tax or are eligible for a refund. These scammers aim to steal your personal information or money.

Side hustle job ads

Of all the various types of scams doing the rounds, those relating to jobs and employment grew the fastest in 2023. In fact, they almost tripled, costing Australians nearly $25 million.

Scammers know better than most the lure of making quick and easy money. They create fake job ads and promise good income, after you’ve paid for a course or materials upfront.

We see this type of scam continuing as people look for more ways to increase their income as cost of living pressures increase.

Staying informed and alert is the key to protecting yourself from financial scams. Scamwatch is a fantastic resource for you to use, and you’ll find more information about how to stay from scams on our website. By understanding the tactics used by scammers, you can keep your money yours in 2024.

Important Information

Great Southern Bank, a business name of Credit Union Australia Ltd ABN 44 087 650 959, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence Number 238317. Conditions, fees and charges apply. This is general information and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider the appropriateness of the information, including the Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) booklet, before acting on it. The Financial Claims Scheme may apply to this product; refer to the T&Cs for more information.

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