Scams Awareness

Community Safety

Scams Awareness Week

Scams Awareness Week is an annual scams awareness raising campaign run by the ACCC on behalf of the Scam Awareness Network. 

In 2023 the campaign will run from Monday 27 November – Friday 1 December.  The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘impersonation scams’.

Anecdotally, approximately 80% of all scams reported to Scamwatch include some form of impersonation of a legitimate entity. 

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.

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 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 organisation’s 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 the correct registration details of organisations through registers such as the Moneysmart Financial Advisers Register and the Australian Charity Register for Charities.

What to do if you are a victim of a scam

  • 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.
  • 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 try to stop the scam and warn others by reporting the scam to the National Anti-Scam Centre via  You can make a report to Scamwatch anonymously or on behalf of another person. 

You can also make an official report to the police online here ( .

For more information visit