Identifying scams

In Australia, during the 2022-2023 financial year, Australians lost more than $3.1 Billion dollars to scams.

What are Scams?

Scams are a fraud scheme which affect many Australians every year, where an individual may hand over their personal information, give access to their finances or are tricked into giving or receiving money. In this article the content will be focused on Phone Calls, Emails and Text Messages but we have a few points on which scams affect most Australians. At LCU, we are dedicated to helping our members identify scam tactics, and learn to ask themselves “Is this a Scam?”

Social Media Scams

Social media scams can often be identified with people contacting you out of the blue or where you may be looking to purchase goods and services and these are never delivered.


Investment Scams

Investment scams are where people or organisations claim to offer a high return on an investment, with high pressure tactics to encourage you to invest your money with them.

Remote Access Scams

Remote access scams are where an individual may identify themselves as a person from a company or organisation you are familiar with and attempt to access your computer, mobile phone or tablet via a remote sharing website, an App or by downloading software.

Romance Scams

This is where an individual may contact you via social media platforms, with the purported intention of dating you or developing a friendship with promises and declarations of love which convince you to give them your money. Sometimes they also ask you to receive funds and you will be able to retain a portion of these funds.

Identifying Scams
Keeping yourself informed is an effective defence against scams. ScamWatch is a dedicated government website designed to help Australians identify scams and report when they have been scammed.

Emails & Text Messages:

Emails and text messages are an easy target source for scammers and hackers. Typically, you may receive the email or text message and view it.


It is important to emphasise that when viewing these messages you do not click the link, download the PDF or even select an image as this may be detrimental to the security of your device.


Sometimes these emails or text messages do look legitimate, identifying themselves as the “Australian Taxation Office”. These messages may display the sender’s name, but on further inspection you may see that the email is in fact not one the Australian Tax Office would use.
An example could look like this: ‘Australian Taxation office< XYZ@amail .com’ This is not a legitimate email address and this email is more likely to be a scam.


Sometimes you could also receive text messages saying you have:

1. unread messages in your MyGov; or
2. unpaid toll fines; or
3. asking you to verify your identity.


These messages may contain links or requests to “click here to view”. You should not click the links in these text messages and instead should contact MyGov, your toll provider or the company that has sent you these messages directly.

Be careful where:

Clicking links or downloading files that are sent in an email or text message;

These emails or text messages are from a non-saved phone number sent by people you know, governments, companies and businesses you may or may not already deal with;

You receive a “verification” code which you didn’t request.

Look out for emails and text messages which:

Contain spelling and grammatical errors within the email or text message;

State that you are entitled to a refund or that you spent money on an unknown website;

State that if you don’t act now, severe consequences may occur e.g. you may receive a fine if no action is taken;

Ask for your banking details or to verify your identity.

What you can do to determine if the email or text message are genuine:

Contact the person, organisation, company or business using the details you have found via their website or in your contacts list to check if the emails or text message was genuine;

Access the organisation’s portal or App directly (do not click the links provided in the email or text message).

Futher advice

View further information on how to identify scams by visiting 

Phone calls:

Phone calls are also an easy target source for scammers and hackers. This typically happens when receiving a phone call but can also happen if you were to call back a phone number supplied in a fraudulent email or text message.

Scammers and hackers typically use scare tactics to cause panic, which can also include outlandish remarks stating that “if you don’t act now something bad will happen”.

If you’re uncertain about a call, unfamiliar with the caller, or feel pressured, it’s best to simply hang up.

Be careful where:

You receive a phone call out of the blue and the person may identify themselves from a company who wouldn’t normally contact you;

Where the caller asks you to verify yourself and provide your private information such as passwords for your internet banking or visa card numbers. They may even already have your name and address;

The caller may send a one-time password to “confirm your identity” (LCU will never ask you to divulge your SMS one time password);

The call is an automated voice with a pre-recorded message.

Look out for phone calls where:

You may feel pressured to divulge your personal details;

Where you may receive a one-time password where you did not request it yourself;

You are informed that you are eligible to receive a refund;

The caller requests that you go to any device such as a phone or computer and request you input a web address that you typically don’t use.

What you can do to determine the phone call is genuine:

If in doubt, don’t continue with the phone call;

Advise the caller you will call their company on the phone number listed on their website;

Allow calls from unknown numbers go to voicemail;

Don’t use contact details provided by the caller in the call itself or via email or text message;

Use the organisation’s secure portal or App.

Further advice

Immeditaly hang up if you are in doubt of the phone call.

Contact us if you feel you have been compromised.

View further actions on this in our security FAQ 

Other Scams to look out for:

Not only are the above-mentioned scams among the top scams in Australia, but these two scams are also becoming increasingly popular.


Recently, “deepfakes” have been making their way into scams. A deep fake scam uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create convincing but fake videos or audio recordings of people we care about or well-known individuals, such as celebrities or public figures, to give credibility to fraudulent schemes. We ask that our members before actioning anything, try to contact the person by the phone number you already have in your contact list.

“The refund scam” 

The refund scam typically consists of where you have been contacted by an individual claiming to represent an organization or government department, informing you that you are due a refund. However, they stipulate terms and conditions, such as an upfront “administration fee.” These calls can segue into remote access scams, leading to financial loss and compromised personal information. In such scams, perpetrators may convince you to grant them control over your device, creating the illusion of a deposit into your account, ranging from a nominal to a substantial sum. They then request the return of these funds, often through a transfer from another one of your accounts or by manipulating the HTML of a banking webpage, resulting in you inadvertently sending your own money to them.

Best practices to avoid being scammed:

Scams within Australia had skyrocketed throughout the 2022-2023 financial year with a 73 per cent increase in losses.

LCU is committed to customer protection against scams, ensuring that your finances remain safe and secure. By tailoring our training programs to focus on scam awareness for our staff, we maintain constant vigilance. However, by staying informed about the latest scams and exploring additional protective measures, we can collectively foster a secure banking environment that safeguards you from financial loss.
Here are two important tips to remember:

TIP #1: If you are ever asked for your SMS One-time password, end the call immediately. LCU staff will never ask you to provide this information.

TIP #2: If you have any doubts about a call, email, or text message, please contact us without delay.

Educating yourself and others could be the most effective defense against scams. Understanding which actions to take can help minimize the risk of losing personal information or suffering financial loss.

Any questions, comments or if you require support, please contact us on (02) 9859 0585.

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