Scams are not just reserved for the elderly or the technologically unsound – although these people can be vulnerable. In reality, scams are so prevalent and can be so sophisticated that anyone can find themselves a victim of a scam. For National Consumer Fraud Week, myself and my team at MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs want to help promote the realisation in the community that scammers are out there every day draining bank accounts and leaving you with a bad credit history for years to come.

By Graham Doessel, Founder and CEO of MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs and .

‘Slam scams’ is the theme for National Consumer Fraud Week 2012 run by the Australian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT).

Their aim is to educate Australians on the prevalence of scams in everyday life, and the often sophisticated nature of scams.

Here’s an explanation of the Week as featured on the ACCC’s SCAMwatch website:

“Have you ever received a phone call or SMS out of the blue, a phishy email or ‘lucky’ letter, an unknown knock at the door or a strange request from an online friend or admirer? National Consumer Fraud Week 2012 runs from 19 to 25 March and is all about raising awareness of scam delivery methods so that you can identify and slam a scam at the point of contact.

Scammers are increasingly sophisticated in how they deliver scams, taking advantage of new technology and communication methods to try and slip under your radar. Online platforms and mobile technology such as emails, social networking sites, smartphones and tablets make it easier to connect with people around the world and communicate in real time anonymously, privately or publicly. Unfortunately, scammers also take advantage of these benefits to target you.

Scammers are also not afraid to adopt a personal touch such as contacting you at home on your phone or at your door. They will try and push your buttons by playing on your emotions to evoke a sense of guilt, anxiety or fear. They also use slick tricks such as professional-looking websites or documents, and often pose as someone or an organisation that you know and trust.

Scammers will use any means to deliver a scam and get you to part with your money or personal details. If you receive a scam, slam it!

Remember to press delete, throw it out, shut the door or just hang up.

Tips to keep scammers at arms length

Ignore suspicious emails, letters, house visits, phone calls or SMS – press ‘delete’, throw them out, shut the door or just hang up

Scammers use sophisticated tricks to fool you such as fake websites, glossy brochures, technical jargon or posing as someone that you know and trust – don’t fall for them!

Scammers will play on your emotions to get what they want

Your personal details are private and invaluable – keep them that way and away from scammers

Fighting fraud: we can all play a part” SCAMwatch says.

The Sydney Morning Herald has this morning featured scams in this article titled $85m lost in business scams last year:

“THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission received 83,150 reports of scams from small businesses and consumers in 2011, almost double the number the year before and more than quadruple the number in 2009, according to its annual scam report, to be released today.

More than $85 million in losses were reported, up 35 per cent.

Michael Schaper, chairman of the Australian Consumer Fraud Taskforce and deputy chair of the ACCC, said the number of scams was likely to be higher than reported, because many victims were too embarrassed to come forward,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports.


Table from Sydney Morning Herald

Slam scams and stop credit file misuse

People need to stop feeling embarrassed that they have fallen victim to scams, and start coming forward about their experiences. Unfortunately many people who are victims of a scam have also given over lots of personal information in the process. This can lead to identity theft and the scammers taking credit out in the victim’s name.

Embarrassment aside, these victims are stuck unable to take out credit while their credit file shows a series of overdue accounts they had no knowledge of, and are not responsible for. . Not only are scams damaging short term, but the effects can be long-ranging. Victims are unable to take out credit for 5 years while their credit file shows this bad credit history.

The more these victims are ridiculed for somehow being ‘gullible’ the more they will hide away and not speak out about the instances of scams. Also, the impression that these scams are easy to detect will remain in the wider community.

We need everyone to know these scams are not obvious. Scammers are clever and they have plenty of patience.

But if something doesn’t ring true…the best thing people can do is stop the contact, and verify the information of the person before they proceed.

And remember the golden rule, before giving out money or personal information – no matter who it is – people should do all they can to make that transaction as secure as possible.

For scam victims…one of the essential tasks to perform while notifying your bank is to check your credit file is not showing any bad credit history put there by scammers.

If you think you may have been a victim of a scam, talk to us confidentially tollfree on 1300 667 218 or visit the main website about what this could mean for you and your credit file – and how we can help you restore you good name.

Image: David Castillo Dominici /