The Most Common Types of Scam Calls in Australia

By SpringCom,

Filed under: Blog

Man inputting credit card information on computer because of scam call

Have you gotten a call from someone offering to fix your computer for free or threatening you for money you don’t owe, or perhaps a warning from your bank or the ATO, about suspicious funds.

Maybe you’ve even received an offer that sounds too good to be true from a totally trustworthy Nigerian prince, or perhaps someone is just requesting to be your ‘friend’ online.

You probably have experienced all of the above at some point, and they’re all highly likely to be from scammers.

At SpringCom, we hate scam and spam calls as much as you do, and that’s why we’re constantly fighting to put a stop to them.

We’re continuing to implement changes to our networks in line with the Reducing Spam Calls Code developed in 2020 to help reduce the number of scam and spam phone calls you receive.

And we hope that one day we can end them for good.

As Sun Tzu proclaims in The Art of War, if you know your enemy ‘you need not fear the result of a hundred battles’, so the first step to fighting scammers is to understand how they operate.

To do that, we are going to share some of the most common types of spam and scam calls that are making its rounds in Australia. These are scams that you might have received already, and are the sort of calls we’re fighting to stamp out. Knowing what the most common types of scams are and how they work is the first step to protecting yourself or your business from their potentially devastating effect.

Wangiri scam calls

Wangiri Scam

The dreaded Wangiri scam, also known as the one ring scam, is making rounds in Australia, but it actually has its origins in Japan. Wangiri is a Japanese word that directly translates to ‘one ring and cut’, and refers to when a scammer places a call from an international number and causes it to disconnect after a short ring time, usually less than 10 seconds, inducing the called party (hey, that’s you!) to call back and incur nasty toll charges. These crafty scammers receive a share of these charges, and that’s how they make their living. Not exactly an honest day’s work.

What Should You Do If You Receive a Wangiri Call?

Don’t call back, whatever you do, just don’t. You’ll pay a hefty bill and you won’t even get a decent conversation out of it. If you receive calls from an international number you don’t know and you suspect it’s a scam, ignore it. If they keep calling you then block the number.

You can also let us know about it and we will investigate the number and its origin. Your efforts in reporting scams will help us crack down harder on Wangiri scammers and save lots of Aussies from falling victim to them.

How Is SpringCom Fighting Wangiri Calls?

We are constantly monitoring our network for any Wangiri phone calls and will shut down suspicious numbers as we find them. We strive to protect our customers like a lioness protects her cubs; in other words, these scammers don’t know who they’re messing with!

Scam Calls hacker on computer

Investment Scams

If someone calls you with an offer that sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Investment scams are one of the oldest scams in the book of scam calls and most of us have been solicited by one of these before. If you ever have checked your spam email folder you no doubt have come across hundreds of these types of scams. Investment scams involve individuals or companies cold calling prospects and offering high-return investment opportunities, the only catch is that you have to give the person or company a lot of money or your credit card information up front. They promise they will be able to double or triple your initial investment, but of course that is a lie. And you will never see your money again. According to Scamwatch, Aussies have lost over $205 million to scam investment calls between January and May 2022 alone, which is a 166% increase to the same period the year before, and the number of affected Australians is only rising.

What Should You Do If You Receive a Potential Investment Scam Call?

If you receive an unsolicited call or email about an investment opportunity, do not invest without first researching the company and the opportunity thoroughly. When you are on the phone with the solicitor of the investment you can ask a few questions to determine the legitimacy of the offer. You should first ask what their name is and what is the name of the company they represent. Secondly, you should ask if the company is licensed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and if so, what their licence number is?

If they are unable or unwilling to answer these questions then you should consider that as a red flag that the investment offer is a scam. We recommend that you disconnect the call and cease communicating with the person and/or company.

How Is SpringCom Fighting Wangiri Calls?

SpringCom is actively monitoring suspicious activities and reporting them to the relevant authorities, as well as educating its customers on how to spot investment scams and protect themselves and their business.

Hacker code on computer screen

ATO Scam

Here’s another scam spreading across Australia that we are closely monitoring. It involves scammers calling you up or sending you an SMS pretending to be the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and claiming that they have suspended your tax file number (TFN) due to ‘suspected fraudulent activity’.

You can immediately tell it’s a scam and not the real ATO by the robotic voice on the other end that repeats a script and doesn’t attempt to engage you in conversation at all. We call these ‘robo-calls’ and you have surely encountered them before. If you don’t answer the phone they will usually leave a robo-message as a voicemail on your phone.

The scammers will typically tell you that your TFN has been suspended and you need to transfer your money into a holding account. They may threaten you with legal action as well and say that you are ‘under investigation’. The end goal for these scammers is to convince you that they are the real ATO, and to scare you into giving your money to them.

What Should You Do If You Receive an ATO Scam Call?

The first thing to do is to identify if it is really the ATO contacting you or not. If you receive a call claiming your TFN is suspended, then it’s not the ATO, as they will never suspend your TFN. If they ask you for money, then it’s also not the ATO, as they will never ask you for money. And if they left an unsolicited message on your voicemail in a robotic voice… Well, the ATO will never do that either. If you are unsure if it is the real ATO or a scammer, hang up the phone and call the ATO directly on 13 28 61 and ask them to verify the message you received. You can also call the ATO’s scam line on 1800 008 540 if you are sure the call or message you received is a scam.

How Is SpringCom Fighting ATO Scam Calls?

The SpringCom network features a strict blocking system that automatically rejects potential spam phone calls based on a list of pre-set criteria. We’re always updating this blocking system with new criteria to ensure that no phone scams slip through our net and reach you.

Currently, SpringCom’s automated blocking system addresses calls for the following criteria:

  • Missing or Invalid Australian or International Calling Line Identification (CLI).
  • Unallocated Australian CLI.
  • Use of Freecall or other Inbound numbers as CLI.
  • Unallocated Country Codes and Regions.
  • ‘One-ring’ Scams

Customer service lady helping customer on phone

Ways You Can Protect Yourself From Scam Calls

We’re constantly updating our blocking system but new scams are being developed every day. So while we’re fighting the good fight, here are some ways you can protect yourself:

  • Beware of suspicious calls and remember that most trusted institutions will never, ever ask you to provide financial information over the phone.
  • Never send money (or gift cards) or give out your credit card or bank details.
  • If a caller threatens you with a fine, telephone disconnection, or legal costs, hang up the phone immediately and call the actual organisation and check with them.
  • Report any suspected scams to ACCC’s Scamwatch or ReportCyber.
  • Contact SpringCom directly on 1300 857 194.

Together, with other Aussie Telco’s onboard, we have stopped over 30 million scam calls in 2020 alone. Let’s do everything we can to stop more and end them once and for all.

Join SpringCom Today to Put an End to Scam Calls

Are you tired of receiving a never ending number of scam calls? We hear you. Join SpringCom, an Australian business Telco that is dedicated to protecting you and your business from these unwanted calls. With advanced fraud detection and automated blocking systems, SpringCom is on the front lines of the fight against scam calls. Don’t let scammers take advantage of you and your business any longer. Join SpringCom today and experience the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are protected against these scams. Give us a call today on 1300 857 194 and we can help you set up secure and affordable phone systems for your small business.


SpringCom small business phone systems

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