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    Current COVID-19 scams

    Scammers are pretending to be government agencies providing information on COVID-19 through text messages and emails ‘phishing’ for your information. These contain malicious links and attachments designed to steal your personal and financial information.

    Scammers are pretending to be from real and well known businesses such as banks, travel agents, insurance providers and telco companies, and using various excuses around COVID-19 to:
    – ask for your personal and financial information
    – lure you into opening malicious links or attachments
    – gain remote access to your computer
    – seek payment for a fake service or something you did not purchase.

    Scammers are taking advantage of people in financial hardship due to COVID-19 by attempting to steal their superannuation or by offering unnecessary services and charging a fee.

    The majority of these scams start with an unexpected call claiming to be from a superannuation or financial service.

    Scammers have created fake online stores claiming to sell products that don’t exist — such as cures or vaccinations for COVID-19, and products such as face masks.

    Buying or selling

    Classified scams
    Classified scams trick online shoppers on classified websites into thinking they are dealing with a legitimate contact but it is actually a scammer.

    False billing
    False billing scams request you or your business to pay fake invoices for directory listings, advertising, domain name renewals or office supplies that you did not order.

    Health & medical products
    Health and medical product scams may sell you healthcare products at low prices that you never receive, or make false promises about their ‘cure-all’ products, medicines and treatments.

    Mobile premium services
    Scammers create SMS competitions or trivia scams to trick you into paying extremely high call or text rates when replying to an unsolicited text message on your mobile or smart phone.

    Online shopping scams
    Online shopping scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site.

    Overpayment scams
    Overpayment scams work by getting you to ‘refund’ a scammer who has sent you too much money for an item you are selling.

    Psychic & clairvoyant
    Psychic and clairvoyant scams are designed to trick you into giving away your money, usually offering ‘help’ in exchange for a fee.


    Betting & sports investment scams
    Betting and sports investment scams try to convince you to invest in ‘foolproof’ systems and software that can ‘guarantee’ you a profit on sporting events.

    Investment scams
    Investment scams involve promises of big payouts, quick money or guaranteed returns. Always be suspicious of any investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is – and is highly likely to be a scam.

    Threats and extortion

    Malware & ransomware
    Malware tricks you into installing software that allows scammers to access your files and track what you are doing, while ransomware demands payment to ‘unlock’ your computer or files.

    Threats to life, arrest or other
    Threats to life, arrest or other involve demands by scammers to pay money that you supposedly owe and threats if you do not cooperate.

    Unexpected Winnings

    Scratchie scams
    Scratchie scams take the form of fake scratchie cards that promise some sort of prize, on the condition that the ‘winner’ pays a collection fee.

    Travel prize scams
    Travel prize scams are attempts to trick you into parting with your money to claim a ‘reward’ such as a free or discounted holiday.

    Unexpected prize & lottery scams
    Unexpected prize and lottery scams work by asking you to pay some sort of fee in order to claim your prize or winnings from a competition or lottery you never entered.

    Rental Scam

    There are three versions of this scam. In one, you’re offered a room or house for rent and come under pressure to pay the rent in advance. In reality the scammers are not authorised to rent out the property or the property may not even exist.

    In another variation, the scammers pretend to be interested in renting a property you own. They claim to have made payment for the deposit, after which you receive fake emails from PayPal asking for a fee before the payment can be released to you. The scammers may even ask you to help pay their movers’ fees.

    In a third, scammers may put up fake property listings online and and contact victims through WhatsApp pretending to be property agents. The scammers then ask the victims for deposits in order to secure appointments to view the properties. Victims will realise that they have been scammed after the scammers cease contact with them.

    After the sale failures

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    Attempts to gain your personal information

    Hacking occurs when a scammer gains access to your personal information by using technology to break into your computer, mobile device or network.

    Identity theft
    Identity theft is a type of fraud that involves using someone else’s identity to steal money or gain other benefits.

    Phishing scams are attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out your personal information such as your bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers.

    Remote access scams
    Remote access scams try to convince you that you have a computer or internet problem and that you need to buy new software to fix the problem.

    Dating and romance

    Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. These scams are also known as ‘catfishing’.

    Scammers typically create fake online profiles designed to lure you in. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad.

    Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging. They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but travelling or working overseas.

    Scammers will go to great lengths to gain your interest and trust, such as showering you with loving words, sharing ‘personal information’ and even sending you gifts. They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come.

    Fake charities

    Fake charities try to take advantage of your generosity and compassion for others in need. Scammers will steal your money by posing as a genuine charity. Not only do these scams cost you money, they also divert much needed donations away from legitimate charities and causes.

    Fake charity approaches occur all year round and often take the form of a response to real disasters or emergencies, such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes and bushfires.

    Scammers will pose as either agents of legitimate well-known charities or create their own charity name. This can include charities that conduct medical research or support disease sufferers and their families. They may also pose as individuals needing donations for health or other reasons.

    Scammers may also play on your emotions by claiming to help children who are ill.

    Fake charities operate in a number of different ways. You may be approached on the street or at your front door by people collecting money. Scammers may also set up fake websites which look similar to those operated by real charities. Some scammers will call or email you requesting a donation.

    Jobs & employment

    Jobs & employment scams
    Jobs and employment scams trick you into handing over your money by offering you a ‘guaranteed’ way to make fast money or a high-paying job for little effort.

    Pyramid schemes
    Pyramid schemes are illegal and very risky ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes that can end up costing you a lot of money.

    Unexpected money

    Inheritance scams
    These scams offer you the false promise of an inheritance to trick you into parting with your money or sharing your bank or credit card details.

    Icon depicting a safe and gold bars
    Unexpected money scams
    Unexpected money scams involve someone overseas offering you a share in a large sum of money or a payment on the condition you help them to transfer money out of their country.

    Rebate scams
    Rebate scams try to convince you that you are entitled to a rebate or reimbursement from the government, a bank or trusted organisation.

    Flubot scams

    Flubot is malicious software (malware) that sends text messages to both Androids and iPhones. There are a large number of different types of Flubot text messages and scammers are updating them all the time. We strongly recommend that you never click on the links in these messages. It is best to delete them immediately.

    Android phones are more at risk, as we outline below.

    The content of the text messages varies but they all contain a link containing 5-9 random numbers. They will often ask you to download an app to track or organise a time for a delivery, hear a voicemail message, or view photos that have been uploaded.

    However, there is no delivery, voicemail, or photos uploaded and the app is actually malware called Flubot. If you have an Android device, typically the application downloaded is called Voicemail71.apk, Update42.apk’ or DHL34.apk. This application is malware.