Stay alert, stay safe
Scams can affect anybody at any time, in person or online. Learn how to identify different types of scams and how to protect yourself, so you can safeguard yourself and others from harm.
In 2022, there were over 200,000 reports of scams made to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). So far in 2023, there have already been over 27,000 reports made.
Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels in Australia, and there's no one group of people who are more likely to become a victim of a scam – all of us may be vulnerable to a scam at some time. Therefore, it's important you're confident with identifying scams and know how to protect yourself from them so you can safeguard yourself and others from harm.
If you have lost money, had your personal details compromised or suspect you have been scammed in any way, the University is here to support you. Connect with the Student Wellbeing team for free and confidential health, wellbeing and personal support.
If you're an international student, you can access support through Sonder – a mobile app which gives you on-demand access to wellbeing and safety professionals and resources.
Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get your money and personal details, as well as lure you into dangerous situations and environments.
Here's an overview of the most common scams in Australia and how to identify and protect yourself from them.
International students are currently being targeted by a scam email that is requesting large sums of money be deposited into a domestic bank account as part of an Australian Government personal asset certificate for international students. This is a scam known as email phishing. If you receive this email, do not open it or clink on any links in the email. You can report a scam to the National Anti-Scam Centre through the ACCC.
Scammers, often targeting Chinese students specifically, may pose as government officials or police officers and threaten you with deportation or visa cancellation. They will make you transfer them money and may even force you to kidnap yourself to facilitate a ransom from your family.
Phishing scams are attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out your personal information, such as your bank account details, passwords and debit or credit card numbers, by pretending to be from a legitimate business, such as a bank, telephone or internet provider, or even the University. Scammers may attempt to contact you by text message, phone call or email.
Scams that involve threats are designed to frighten you into handing over your money. Scammers may tell you that you have broken the law, have unpaid fines or bills, or that there are problems with your immigration papers or visa status, and threaten your life, to arrest you or deport you unless fees are paid to correct the errors.
Jobs and employment scams involve scammers tricking you into handing over your personal details or money by offering you a 'guaranteed' way to make fast money or secure a high-paying job. Scammers may also lure you into meeting with them in person, claiming to offer or help you secure a job.
Rental property scams can involve scammers tricking you into paying a bond, deposit, or rent up-front for a property that doesn't exist, taking your immigration forms, visa or passport away as 'deposit', tricking you into paying higher rental rates or being deceptive about how a property looks or the features it has.
Academic scams can involve scammers claiming to work for reputable tutoring companies affiliated with the University and tricking you into engaging their services for writing or completing your University assignments. These scammers, commonly known as 'contract cheating companies', may try to cheat you out of your money, personal details or education.