Explore a range of common cyber security threats — find out how they work, how to prevent them, and what to do if they happen to you.
A scam becomes fraud when a scammer gets someone’s personal or financial details and uses them for their own gain, or receives money from their target under false pretences. Fraud is a criminal offence.
While some scammers will simply ask their target directly for money, others will be more subtle about what they want. They can trick you into parting with personal or business details that they can use to:
Phishing is a type of email scam, where the sender pretends to be a trustworthy organisation — like a bank or government agency — in an attempt to get you to provide them with personal information, like your internet banking login details.
Social media scams are where the scammer pretends to be someone you know and ask you for money. For example, they’ll say that the money is to help them get home as they’re stuck somewhere with no access to funds, or that they need to pay for unexpected medical costs. Social media scams prey on people’s good nature and their desire to help others.
Invoice scams affect both businesses and individuals. Scammers send fake invoices requesting payment for goods or services that you didn't ask for or receive. They often say that the due date for payment has passed, or that your credit rating will be affected if they’re not paid.
PC tech support scams are where scammers call people at home pretending to be from a well-known tech company like Microsoft. They often request remote access to your PC or device claiming they need to repair an issue or install a software update. They do this to try and gain access to your private and financial information.
Money scams are common online. They include 'get rich quick' schemes like the Nigerian prince scam, unexpected prizes, fake auctions and any other number of scams intended to part people with their money — or with personal details that the scammer can use for their own gain.
Romance scams are where a scammer takes advantage of someone looking for a relationship online. Scammers will use dating sites and apps or social media to build a relationship with someone. Once they’ve gained the person’s trust, the scammer will start to ask for money, gifts or personal details that can be used to commit fraud. They often use fake profiles to make it harder to track them down.
There’s a number of ways you can protect yourself against scams and fraud.
Here’s what to do if you’ve been targeted by a scam or fraud online.