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There are so many different types of scams doing the rounds that it can be difficult to keep track of them all especially when there seems to be a new one every day. From phishing emails to Facebook Marketplace scams and everything in between, scammers are continuously changing the ways they try to part you from your money or personal information – and they’re using new and rapidly changing technology to help them do it.

To help you stay scam aware, we’ve compiled some information on the scams that you should keep an eye out for this year.

A.I. scams

Did you get a “Hi Mum” text message when they were doing the rounds? Well, thanks to artificial intelligence this type of scam has evolved into something far more sinister.

Scammers have started cloning real voices and using the ‘voice’ to call the person’s loved ones and ask for help or money in an ‘emergency’ situation. The voice data can be captured from a clip as short as three seconds in length and then A.I. does the rest. A voicemail greeting, social media video post or even answering a phone call can all allow scammers to steal and replicate a voice.

Reports of this A.I impersonation scam have been growing in the USA and UK over the last 12 months, and it likely won’t be long before it’s happening regularly here in Australia.

Signs to look out for:

  • You receive a call from a ‘loved one’ on a number you don’t recognise.
  • The caller is in distress or involved in an emergency situation.
  • There’s an urgent request for money.

If you receive an unexpected call from someone close to you asking for money, stop and think before taking any action. Just like with a bank impersonation scam, hang up and call the person directly using a trusted method or number to check on their welfare and to confirm if there really is an emergency situation taking place.

Job scams

As cost-of-living pressures rose, so did the number of people seeking to increase their income by taking on more work or starting a ‘side hustle’. Unfortunately, this has resulted in social media feeds, email inboxes and messaging apps being flooded with offers of employment and it’s likely to continue this year.

This type of scam can take many forms so it’s important to know the common signs. Some job scams will aim to get your personal data, such as your full name, date of birth, contact details and work history. Others will aim to steal your money or get you to engage in illegal activity such as being a ‘money mule’. If you receive an offer for a low effort role that boasts a good salary, be wary – the job may not even exist. If you are asked to make a payment so you can start the role or get paid, your internal alarm bells should ring.

Signs to look out for:

  • An ‘employer’ or ‘recruiter’ contacts you via social media or text message.
  • The job offers low investment but high reward.
  • You’re asked to make a payment for training or induction, or to transfer money on behalf of a ‘colleague’ or the ‘boss’.

Fake jobs can be advertised on legitimate channels and websites, so if you’re looking for work you should employ extreme caution. Confirm that an employment offer is genuine by researching the company thoroughly, contacting them directly using the phone number listed on its website and speaking to people who also work there.

QR code scams

We’ve all received the text messages or emails from a delivery company telling us a parcel couldn’t be delivered successfully. There is usually a link to click on within the communication and these are known as ‘phishing’ messages. Well, this type of scam has been updated and scammers are now often using QR codes instead of links.

This has been dubbed ‘quishing’ and it’s designed to trick you into giving out personal data or downloading malware on to your mobile device. As there is no visible link – unlike in the email or text message – it’s not as easy to check the URL the QR code is sending you to. With QR codes being commonly used for things such as car parking payments and placing orders in your local pub, quishing is a simple way for scammers to target a large number of people.

Signs to look out for:

  • You receive an unsolicited QR code in a message or email from an unfamiliar source.
  • You’re asked to download files or grant permission to your mobile phone’s location or camera settings after scanning a QR code.
  • The QR code is displayed on a sticker – it could be covering a legitimate code.

QR codes are a quick and easy way to share and access information housed on websites and are used by plenty of legitimate businesses and organisations without any ill-intent. Unfortunately, it’s another example of how scammers and criminals can use technology to their advantage and to your detriment.

It’s important to know the common signs of different scams, so you can help protect yourself and others from falling victim to one. Our scams page has more information, as does Scamwatch.

Remember, to always STOP, THINK and PROTECT – and report any scam activity you are affected by to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ReportCyber). If you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam or have found a transaction on your account that you believe is fraudulent, you should notify us immediately by calling 13 25 77.

Note: If you encounter scam activity and aren’t affected by it, but you would like to report it anyway, submit the details to the National Anti-Scam Centre via the Scamwatch website.