REPORTING AN ONLINE SCAM

Report to the ISP

If you've spotted a scam email or phishing email, report it to the internet service provider (ISP) that was used to send you the email.

If the scam email came from a Yahoo! account, send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Gmail has a 'Report spam' button and Hotmail has a 'Report phishing' button. 

Once you report the scam email, the internet service provider (ISP) can then close the account which sent the email.

Report the fraud

You can also report the matter to the company or body being mimicked such as the bank, government department or other company cited in the email. 

Not sure if it’s a scam email?

If you're not sure whether an email you have received is a phishing email, take a look at our guide to spotting phishing emails. 

HOW TO SPOT A SCAM

Bad news: It is getting harder to spot scams as fraudsters are becoming better at coming up with scams that appear legitimate. However, you can still protect yourself by asking yourself the following – a 'yes' to any of these seven questions could indicate that you are potentially being scammed!

1. Why are they calling me from out of the blue?

If you receive an official-sounding call unexpectedly, this could be a scammer trying his or her luck to find out more about you for dishonest purposes. Yes, some actual companies do contact their customers for legitimate reasons from time to time, and if this is the case the caller will usually happily verify that they are a true representative of the company.

To verify their identity, ask them for details only that company would know, such as details of your service contract, bank account details or payment details. If you are still unconvinced, you could disconnect and call the person back at a number you know to be real.

2. Too good to be true?

The adage usually holds – if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Scammers often promise you large financial gains for very little effort or commitment – but do not be swayed by greed. Approach each claim rationally and ignore such offers.

3. Why do they need my personal details?

What purpose would a cold-caller need with your personal details? Often, they would use your valuable personal details for dishonest purposes, so be sparing with what you reveal over the phone to a stranger – particularly if they cannot verify who they are. Beware – they are out to get your money, and can use your information to do so!

4. Why is this person in such a hurry?

One of the keys to avoid being scammed is to think rationally – and this takes time – so do not be pressured into making a decision before you have had a chance to think your decision through.

For example, a scammer could tempt you with big rewards for doing something seemingly harmless on your part, such as transferring money from your bank account. The scammer could say things like this is a deal too good to miss, but you have to hurry in order not to miss out – but do not fall for this high-pressure tactic!

Note that a legitimate salesman would likely give you ample time to make an informed decision, so if you are being rushed that could be a warning sign.

5. Why are they being so coy about themselves?

Legitimate businesses would always reveal their true contact details such as a physical address (not a PO box) or actual phone number (not a premium one such as a 1900 number), which gives customers assurance that they can be reached for redress should it be required.

If you deal with a shady business who operates via PO box or through a number that is difficult to trace, you would be at a loss should something go wrong with any transaction.

6. Why is their language so poor?

This is probably because they are scammers trying their luck – legitimate companies are much less likely to exhibit poor grammar or spelling in their communications. If you are contacted by someone trying to sound official but with poor language skills, you would be better off ignoring them.

7. Why are they asking me to keep this quiet?

The answer to this should be obvious – they are doing something wrong. Any above-board deal should not have to be kept secret, so if the person you are dealing with asks you to keep your dealings hush-hush this is a warning sign for you to get out of the deal quickly. It is likely that they are doing their best to keep you from seeking objective advice which would lead you to back out.