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The Little Black Book of Scams

Brought to you by the Australian Government's ACCC, The Little Black Book of Scams is designed to protect Australian's against cybercrime through education.

Technology plays an important and powerful role in protecting Australian's against cyber crime, stopping or identifying an attack before it can get through your doors. However, technology can't always protect one of the biggest vulnerabilities, human error. Cyber criminals are clever in how they launch attacks and often, it can be very difficult to tell the difference between a malicious email or website and a legitimate one! Check out our introduction to cyber security training to learn more. 

The Little Black Book of Scams details not only cyber crime, but all types of scams. It takes you through how scams are built, executed and how to protect yourself. Here you will find a summary if the book. 

Every year, scams cost Australians, businesses and the economy hundreds of millions of dollars and cause emotional harm to victims and their families. 
- The ACCC, Little Black Book of Scams

Types of Scams

The book goes through 11 specific types of scams dating and romance scams, investment scams, threat and penalty scams, unexpected money scams, identity theft, online shopping, classifieds and auction scams, prize and lottery scams, scams targeting computers and mobile devices, job and employment scams, charity and medical scams and finally, business scams.

Most scams follow the same pattern and once you understand this, the tricks of the scammer become easier to spot.
- The ACCC, The Little Black Book of Scams

The Anatomy of a Scam 

Broken into three components, the anatomy of a scam goes through how a scam is usually built. Understanding this can make it easier to identify them. 

1. The Approach: Delivery Method 
Online, over the phone, at your door

When scammers approach you it will always come with a story designed to make you believe a lie. The scammer will pretend to be something they are not, a government official, an expert investor, a lottery official or even a romantic admirer. To deliver these lies to you, scammers will use a range of communication methods.

2. Communication and Grooming  
If you give them a chance to talk to you, they will start using tricks in their scammers’ toolbox to convince you to part with your money.

3. Spending The Money 
Sometimes the biggest clue you will have that it is a scam is the way the scammer asks you to pay.

Protecting Yourself

Be alert to the fact that scams exist
When dealing with uninvited contacts from people or businesses, whether it’s over the phone, by mail, email, in person or on a social networking site, always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Know who you’re dealing with
If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a business, take some time to do a bit more research. Do a Google image search on photos or search the internet for others who may have had dealings with them.

Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or emails—delete them.
If unsure, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Don’t use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.

Keep your personal details secure 
Put a lock on your mailbox and shred your bills and other important documents before throwing them out. Keep your passwords and pin numbers in a safe place. Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social media sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.

Beware of unusual payment methods
Scammers often ask for payment by wire transfers, preloaded cards and even Google Play, Steam, or iTunes cards and Bitcoin. These are nearly always a sign that it is part of a scam.

Keep your mobile devices and computers secure
Always use password protection, don’t share access with others (including remotely), update security software and back up content. Protect your WiFi network with a password and avoid using public computers or WiFi hotspots to access online banking or provide personal information.

Choose your passwords carefully
Choose passwords that would be difficult for others to guess and update them regularly. A strong password should include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for every account/profile, and don’t share your passwords with anyone.

Beware of any requests for your details or money.
Never send money or give credit card numbers, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust. Don’t agree to transfer money or goods for someone else: money laundering is a criminal offence.

Be careful when shopping online.
Beware of offers that seem too good to be true, and always use an online shopping service that you know and trust. Think twice before using virtual currencies (like Bitcoin)—they do not have the same protections as other transaction
methods, which means you can’t get your money back once you send it.

Scammers take advantage of the busy nature of many businesses to swindle them.
- The ACCC, The Little Black Book of Scams

What to do When You Suspect a Scam

If you suspect cyber crime activity but you're not sure, you can always call us, our Cyber Security Team can look into it for you. 

To read the full book, head over to the ACCC website.

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