This week has been National Consumer Fraud week, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have themed this year as ‘Scams: It’s Personal’.

“While the overall financial cost of scams is high, we should not overlook the personal toll experienced by individuals who fall victim to these crimes.” Deputy Chairman of ACCC Peter Kell said.

As anyone who has ever been a victim of identity theft or scams of any form will tell you – the cost is huge both emotionally and financially. And it is damn personal.

Once some innocent person has taken the bait, fraudsters have the opportunity to financially ruin their victims.

In my line of work I deal every day with people who have defaults on their credit file. Defaults remain on someone’s file for 5 years unless they are removed due to the help of a credit file repairer.

Identity theft and scam victims have no easier time having the defaults removed from their file. They still have to fight tooth and nail to prove themselves, and still may only have the defaults marked as ‘paid’.

MyCRA works hard every day to help people in these situations get their finances and their lives back on track after they have been victims of fraud by helping to get those defaults removed.

However, prevention is better than the cure.

We recommend consumers go to the ACCC website

Sign up to scam WATCH which has a host of relevant information, including details of current scams in AUSTRALIA. Read the ACCC’s book The little black book of scams which highlights the latest scams and how to go about protecting yourself.

Be educated about scams in your every day dealings both on and off-line and help educate your family and friends.

If you have been scammed – don’t be embarrassed– report it straight away.

Consider yourself fighting if not for yourself but for the next person they may not scam because you have blown the whistle.

Stay safe everyone!