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Identifying Scams

18 May 2018

If you received a call from the Tax Office claiming you had a tax debt that you must pay immediately or be arrested, what would you think?

If your internet provider called saying there were internet problems in your area and that they needed remote access to your computer otherwise they would disconnect your service, what would you do?

Scams Awareness Week

21 – 25 May 2018

While it would be understandable if your initial reaction was fear or panic, this Scams Awareness Week, you are being urged to ‘Stop and check – is this for real?’

Suncorp is partnering with the ACCC's Scamwatch this Scams Awareness Week to raise awareness of threat-based impersonation scams, with almost 33,000 of these scams reported last year.

Threat-based Impersonation Scams

About 85% of these reported scams were initiated by the telephone, so it pays to be diligent and aware the second you answer a call.

In these threat-based impersonation scams, scammers often pretend to be from a government agency or well-known, trusted business, such as Suncorp, and use threats to pressure or scare you into giving them money or your personal information. The scammers may threaten you with fines, disconnecting your internet, arrest, court action or even deportation.

The scammers and their threats can seem genuine and frightening. They can make you feel as if you've done something wrong or that there's urgency and you must do what they say immediately or suffer the consequences.

Many people have believed these threats. According to Scamwatch, over $4.7 million was reported lost and more than 2800 people gave their personal information to these scammers in 2017.

If you're contacted unexpectedly and threatened by someone that says they're from a government agency or trusted business, always consider the possibility that it may be a scam – then stop and check if it's for real.

For more tips and information about these scams, where to get help or to report a scam, visit the Scamwatch website.

Tips to stay protected from Impersonation Scams

Scamwatch has shared some tips with Suncorp to help you protect yourself and be scam savvy:

  • When dealing with uninvited contacts from government agencies or trusted businesses – whether over the phone, by email, mail, in person or through social media – always consider the possibility that it may be a scam.
  • If you’re unsure whether a call or email is genuine, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source, such as an online search, then get in touch to ask if they contacted you. Don’t use the contact details provided by the caller or in the message they sent to you.
  • Don’t be pressured by a threatening caller. Hang up, then check whether their story is real.
  • Never send money or give your bank account details, credit card details or other personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust, and never by email or over the phone.
  • A government agency or trusted business will never ask you to pay by unusual methods such as with gift or store cards, iTunes cards, wire transfers or bitcoin.
  • Don’t open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or emails and don’t click on links or open attachments.
  • Never give anyone remote access to your computer if they’ve contacted you out of the blue – whether through a phone call, pop up window or email – and even if they claim to be from a well-known company.