Where to Get Help

If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam or identity theft, it’s important to report it and get help immediately in order to protect your privacy and finances from any further damage, as well as to help stop other people from falling victim in the future.

Many people are reluctant to report these sorts of crimes because they feel embarrassed or feel they should have known that it was a scam. Unfortunately though, you’re not alone. Literally thousands of Australians have fallen victim to these often very convincing scams, and millions of dollars have been stolen and moved into overseas bank accounts as a result. The only way to stop scammers is for people to report them so that the authorities can take action.

If you are the victim of identity theft

If someone has accessed your accounts without permission or stolen your money or personal information you should:

  1. Contact your bank or financial institution immediately and inform them; change any passwords or account details and cancel all credit cards that may have been compromised.
  2. Get a copy of your credit report and inform any relevant credit reporting agencies that you are a victim of identity theft.
  3. Close any unauthorised accounts that were opened in your name.
  4. If the identity theft was the result of a scam, report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Any details you provide are kept confidential.  For more information or to report a scam, go to the SCAMwatch website at https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/reportascam/. You can also call SCAMwatch on 1300 795 995 between 8:30am-6pm Monday to Friday.
  5. Report the identity theft to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN)—an online reporting facilities for cybercrime. Every report submitted on the ACORN is treated seriously and assists Australian law enforcement and government agencies to monitor cybercrime or develop prevention advice.  For more information or to report a scam, go to http://www.acorn.gov.au/.
  6. Contact the police—if you have sent money to the scammer you should contact ACT police (02 6256 7777) and report your loss. Ask for a copy of the police report in case your bank or government agencies require it.

If someone is harassing you online

If someone is sending you unwanted and/or emails or phone messages, posting offensive pictures or content about you, or threatening you, you should:

  1. Record evidence. Do not delete any abusive messages or emails you have received as these constitute proof that you are being harassed.
  2. Ask the person to delete it. If someone has posted offensive photos or content of you online, ask them to delete it.
  3. Report it to the website. You can report cyber bullying to the website and have the content removed if it violates the website’s terms of use (the agreement between a user and the owner of the website).
  4. Report it to your phone company. You can report abusive calls or texts to your phone company. They may be able to trace the caller/sender and send them a warning letter, or even suspend their phone number if they do not stop.
  5. Block communication from them. You can adjust the privacy settings on your phone or online account to block the person from contacting you.
  6. Contact your local community legal centre for advice. If you would like advice about possible legal action, you can the ACT you can contact the ACT Women’s Legal Centre for advice on (02) 6257 4499 Monday-Friday 9:30am-12:00pm or make an appointment to go and see them. Canberra Community Law also operates a night time legal advice telephone service (02 6218 7999) on Tuesday evenings 6-8pm.
  7. Report it to the police. If someone is threatening you or you feel concerned for your safety, contact the police immediately. If you require police assistance or advice but the threat is not urgent, you can contact ACT policing on (02) 6256 7777. Always call 000 if you are in immediate danger.

If you’ve fallen victim to an internet dating scam:

  1. Cease all communication with the scammer.
  2. Report the scammer to the dating website as they may be targeting other women.
  3. Contact your financial institution—if you have given financial or personal information to a potential scammer, contact your financial institutions and inform them; change any account details or passwords that may be compromised.
  4. Report the scam to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Any details you provide are kept confidential.  For more information or to report a scam, go to the SCAMwatch website at https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/reportascam/. You can also call SCAMwatch on 1300 795 995 between 8:30am-6pm Monday to Friday.
  5. Report the scam to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN)—an online reporting facilities for cybercrime. Every report submitted on the ACORN is treated seriously and assists Australian law enforcement and government agencies to monitor cybercrime or develop prevention advice.  For more information or to report a scam, go to http://www.acorn.gov.au/.
  6. Contact the police—if you have sent money to the scammer you should contact ACT police on (02) 6256 7777 and report your loss.

 

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