Texts, social media and "phishing": The simple ways scammers get you, and how to spot them.

Just a few weeks ago, an old friend sent me a link to a video on Facebook, with a message prompting me to click on it.

Thinking nothing of it, I did, and was asked to re-enter my Facebook username and password before noticing something was off. I stopped there and ignored it.

Good thing I did - it was a scam, and someone had hacked my friend's account and sent that message to hundreds of people. 

Listen to this bonus episode of Mamamia's money podcast, What The Finance, all about scams. Post continues after audio.

In 2022, scams are everywhere, and the fraudsters behind them are constantly finding new ways to outsmart us and steal our money.

Since precisely no one wants that to happen, it's important to know how to spot a scam, and what to do if or when faced with one.

Here are the most common scams you need to know about, and how to avoid them.

1. Tax scam.

Yep, scammers work hard during tax time, often pretending to be from the tax office or other government agencies to try to obtain our money.

There are a few ways they'll try to do this:

1. Call and claim to be from the ATO, and say your tax file number has been suspended or compromised. 

2. Email or text you and ask for personal information, or send you a fake link to the ATO or MyGov, prompting you to enter personal information.

3. Call and say you have debt that needs to be paid off immediately.


For all of these instances, either hang up or don't reply, and don't share any personal information.

2. Unexpected money scam.

You know that saying - if something sounds too good to be true it probably is? Well, that applies to this type of scam.

An unexpected money scam is where you're asked to pay money or give personal details in order to receive money or a prize. 

Scammers will usually try to get you by sending an "authentic" document saying you are owed prize money or an inheritance. 

Like the previous scam, don't provide any information. Anything asking for personal details to claim a prize is an immediate flag! And consider researching the details they used on the internet to see if it's happened to anyone else.

3. Buying and selling scams.

Love a good deal on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree? This is the scam you really should be across.

Buying and selling scams (as the name implies) is where scammers pose as a buyer or seller to scam you out of money or items.

Here are some ways they might try to get you:

1. Advertise a product on a legitimate site - like Gumtree or Depop - but ask you to pay for it outside of the site.

2. Ask you to pay upfront.

3. You receive an invoice for items you never ordered or from a company you do not know.

For these instances, do not proceed or pay any money. 


If it ends up looking legit, offer to pay through a secure payment method. But if something seems off, there's a good chance it is.

Watch: Four money hacks that don't cut out your daily cup of coffee. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

4. Phishing.

Phishing is a way scammers trick you into revealing your personal information such as passwords, account, identification details or credit card numbers.

They will often impersonate businesses you know of or have dealt with before - like banks, phone companies or government agencies.

Here's how they might try to get you:

1. Ask for your personal information.

2. Send an email or SMS asking you to click on a link.

3. Call and threaten you, applying time pressure and asking you to download software or complete something in secret.

In these instances, hang up or do not reply to them, and contact the business directly on a trusted phone number to raise the issue.

5. Malware.

Malware, short for malicious software, is a common method used by cyber criminals to access your devices and gain important information.


It's one of the oldest tricks in the book, and there's a good chance this scam's happened to you or someone you know.

But for a quick refresher, here are ways they will try to get you:

1. Send an email or text asking you to open an attachment or link.

2. An internet site offers free software, games, music, movies or videos.

3. Someone contacts you unexpectedly and asks you to download software or access your computer.

If any of this happens, take your device to an IT professional and don't click a link, enter passwords or answer details if asked to.

6. Social media.

And lastly, the newest and most common scam in 2022: social media scams.

Here are a few ways they do it:

1. They'll pretend to be a Facebook friend and send you a link. It will then instruct you to re-enter your Facebook name and password.

2. A scammer will hack your friend's Instagram and ask for your help by providing them with their phone number. This will allow them to steal your friend's information by pretending to be them.

For both of these instances, ignore the message, don't click any links and report the situation to the social media platform.

Have any of these scams happened to you? Do you have any advice? Tell us in the comments.

Feature image: Canva/Getty.