Reporting Spam and Scam in Australia

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Online spam and scams are rampant nowadays. Unfortunately, there is still no international agency that exists that specialises in dealing with small local problems in different parts of the world. Hence, the next best thing that victims of these cybercrimes can do is submit a report to their respective agencies.

In Australia, residents are encouraged to pass a report of any malicious activity to authorities so they can act on it at an early stage. By being prompt in sending out reports, cybercrimes can be significantly lessened.

How to Report a Spam to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

There are two common types of spams—SMS spam and e-mail spam.  To reduce the amount of spam you may receive or stop it altogether;

  • Don’t tick subscribe boxes when completing online forms
  • Check fine print when entering online competitions
  • Look out for pre-checked boxes when you purchase online or sign up for certain services
  • Improve your computer security facilities with spam and/or advertising filters
  • Replying STOP or OPT OUT to text message spam
  • Blocking senders’ numbers and email addresses
  • Contact you telecommunications company for further advice on reducing spam

To report mobile spam breaches, mobile users just need to send the spam message to ACMA’s Spam SMS service number, 0429 999 888. Your providers standard rate applies for sending a spam report.

Email spam, on the other hand, can be successfully dealt with by forwarding the spam message to report@submit.spam.acma.gov.au. It is important for those filing a report to note that the subject line, or any other part of the message, should not be changed. They should send the message ‘as is’ so experts can provide immediate action. In case ACMA needs more information, they can contact those who have sent the reports.

Types of Scams

There are many different types of scams seen making the rounds. These scams can vary in their complexity. Some of the most common types of scams include;

  • Identity theft – scammers use sneaky approaches to steal your personal information to commit fraudulent behaviour using your stolen identity
  • Dating and romance – scammers will take advantage of people looking for love, often utilising dating website and social media to trick the unsuspecting individual into handing over money, gifts or personal information
  • Buying and selling – scammers will advertise items for sale and take advantage of businesses and individuals looking to make a quick buck from the sale of something that may not even exist.
  • Unexpected winnings – scammers will contact you trying to achieve quick money by convincing you that if you hand over a small amount of money or personal information, a larger sum will be delivered to you from an unentered or unknown competition

It is important to be vigilant when dealing with scammers. Generally speaking, if something is too good to be true, it generally is a scam. Be cautious and use some common sense. Some scams can be very convincing and before handing over money or personal information, ensure you have all the correct information first and check the individual or business is legitimate first.

How to Report a Scam to Scamwatch

Scamwatch is the best avenue for people to report a scam or a malicious activity. Reports can be made by filling in the scam report form on their website. In the form, questions about the nature of the scam, along with basic information on the scammer, will be asked to facilitate more efficient interventions.   

For those with immediate questions, Scamwatch’s info centre can be reached at 1300 795 995.

Dealing with scams and spams can be difficult, but by being cautious and by exerting effort in tracing scammers and spammers, these activities can be gradually stopped. Remember, sending spam and scams is a crime that can grow if we’re not vigilant.