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Be alert to online and phone scams

21 April 2017, 14:30 PM

Scams perpetrated online and by phone are increasingly prevalent.

There’s a range of different types of scams that consumers and small businesses should be aware of. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)’s Scamwatch website ( provides information about how to recognise, avoid and report scams. We recommend subscribing to Scamwatch Radar email alerts via this website to stay up-to-date on scams to watch out for, as scammers frequently try new approaches.

In some types of scams, the scammer will pose as a staff member calling or emailing on behalf of an official body or organisation (ie the ATO, police or an ombudsman) in an attempt to extract personal or financial information and/or money. Any information provided could potentially be used to commit crimes such as identity fraud.

Keep the following in mind about contact from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) Australia:

  • FOS will never cold call. We’ll only contact you if you are party to a dispute. For consumers this means that you or a representative acting at your request has recently lodged a dispute with us.
  • Our service is free to consumers, so we’ll never ask for money.
  • FOS doesn’t pay compensation directly, so we won’t offer money either.
  • FOS will never ask you for your internet banking or other online passwords.
  • FOS will only email you regarding your dispute from an official ‘’ email address. If an email purporting to be from FOS seems unusual or is asking for details not needed to resolve a dispute, check the sender’s address.
  • Be aware that scammers may disguise a sender’s email addresses so that it appears official. To learn more, including warning signs and how to protect yourself, see Scamwatch’s Phishing information page.

If you have any doubts about whether a phone call or email is really from FOS, call us back on 1800 367 287 or forward the email to outlining your concerns. We'll confirm with you directly whether or not the contact is genuine.