Updated August 2023
BiG Tips: Where do you get help or complain about being scammed, faulty products or bad service?
Apart from the non government and industry bodies who can help you avoid being ripped off in Guru Cops, here are some, mainly government, consumer watchdogs in the health, money, finance and energy and gas industries.
What to do if you’ve been scammed?
Money and Finance
National Anti-Scam Centre, ACCC, “launched on 1 July 2023 and will build its information sharing capabilities over the next 3 years. We bring together experts from government and the private sector to tackle harmful scams.
Together, we’re making it harder for scammers to take money and information from Australians.
Scams are getting harder to spot. Australians reported a record $3.1 billion lost to scams last year. That’s 80% more than the year before.
Behind the growing numbers are everyday Australians who lost money to scams – sometimes their life savings. And the true cost of scams is more than a dollar figure. Scams can have a devastating impact on victims’ lives.
As scammers become increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, we need to better coordinate our efforts to stop them.
The National Anti-Scam Centre has been set up to coordinate government, law enforcement and the private sector to combat scams. It builds on the work of the ACCC’s Scamwatch service.
Together we will make Australia a harder target for scammers.”
MoneySmart’s (ASIC) list of companies not licensed to give financial advice, or their Online stockbroking scams list. This website “is for all Australians – young or old, rich or poor, investing or paying off debt. We offer free, independent guidance so you can make the best choices for your money. We are not selling you anything. And when life puts your finances under stress, MoneySmart is here to help you ride the storm. We have smart tips on dealing with the ups and downs of life: losing your job, having a baby, divorce or separation, buying a home, losing your partner and many more.” Here’s their warning list of common tricks:
- COVID-19 phishing scams
- Directing you to a fake website
- Stopping you pulling out of the deal
- Threatening legal action
- Using social media to approach you or your friends
- Artificially inflating the share price
- Passing your call along the line
- Calling or emailing you persistently
- Operating from overseas
ASIC suggests you ask questions and request information such as:
- What is your name and what company do you represent?
- Who owns your company?
- Does your company have an AFS licence and what is the licence number?
- What is your address?
- Is your investing prospectus registered with ASIC?
- Check the legitimacy of the person offering the investment
- The top scams to avoid
- Dating and romance scams
- Investment scams
- Threat and penalty scams
- Unexpected money scams
- Prize and lottery scams
- Online shopping, classifieds and auction scams
- Scams targeting computers and mobile devices
- Identity theft
- Job and employment scams
- Charity and medical scams
- Business scams
- How scams work—the anatomy of a scam
- The golden rules to protect yourself
- Where to find help or support
- Where to report a scam
Scamwatch (by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)) has useful information, warnings, tips and tricks on:
- Banking and online account scams
- Chain letters and pyramid scams
- Health and medical scams
- Identity theft scams
- Investments scams
- Job and employment scams
- Lottery and competition scams (fake prizes)
- Mobile phone scams
- Money transfer requests (‘Nigerian scams’)
- Online scams
- Personalised scams
- Small business scams
AFCA The Australian Financial Complaints Authority “considers complaints that previously would have been handled by the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal. We are the dispute resolution scheme for financial services. We consider complaints about:
- credit, finance and loans
- banking deposits and payments
- investments and financial advice
Choice They say: ‘[is] independent and transparent … [its] one clear mission: to ensure the consumer voice is heard loudly and clearly… [it] empowers consumers to get the most out of all their purchasing decisions by providing a mix of advocacy and advice… the people’s watchdog … constantly looking out for misleading or unhelpful practices that stop you from getting the best deal. The leading consumer advocacy group in Australia … [it]campaigns to protect and assist consumers through changes to laws and industry behaviour… completely self-funded [it] prides itself on delivering expert, unbiased information you can trust.”
Victoria’s Consumer Action Law Centre is a great resource
Franchises (mediation services) from the accc.gov.au
Horticulture (mediation services) from the accc.gov.au
Telecommunications from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network