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Protecting yourself from Scams

Perth is a safe city, but be aware of increasingly sophisticated scams targeting students via email, text, phone, and social media. Stay informed and learn how to protect yourself.

Virtual Kidnapping

How this scam works

The scammer will pose as foreign government officials or police, claiming you are suspected of a crime. They demand payment to avoid deportation. As the scam progresses, victims are coerced into faking their own kidnapping. Families are tricked into believing a ransom is needed to rescue them.

How to avoid this type of scam

  • If you suspect a call is a scam, hang up immediately. Never send money or share personal information. 
  • Remember, foreign police have no authority in WA. 
  • WA Police will contact you directly and show their police ID if they need to speak to you. 
  • WA Police do not use WeChat or WhatsApp to communicate with victims or suspects, so if you are contact on these platforms, it is not the WA Police. 

Fact Sheet

Student Fee Discount Scam

How this scam works

The scammer will send you an email offering to pay for your student fees or give you a discount of 50%. They will request your credit card or bank details to pay a portion of your student fees on your behalf.  After using a fake card to pay, the scammer gets your details and money before the bank catches on and rejects the payment.

How to avoid this type of scam

  • Student fee payments should only be made through your institution or agent.

Flexible Work Scam

How this scam works

The scammer sends you a message online, promising a work-from-home job with no experience required. To secure the job, they ask for a hefty investment in cryptocurrency, along with personal ID and a setup fee. 

How to avoid this type of scam

  • Be suspicious of job offers from strangers on social media, messaging apps, or emails. 
  • Research businesses thoroughly before engaging, including verifying a physical address. 
  • You should never have to pay a fee to secure employment.   

Delivery Scam

How this scam works

The scammer will send you a text message requesting you to click on a link to arrange a time for a delivery. They might claim the link is for a delivery app, but it's actually a link to a harmful software called Flubot.

How to avoid this type of scam

  • If you receive one of these messages, do not click or tap on the link. Delete the message immediately.

Scams targeting Chinese students

How this scam works

The scammer will call you speaking in Mandarin, pretending to be Chinese authorities. They accuse you of a crime like sending illegal items and threaten deportation or arrest unless you pay money or give them personal information. 

How to avoid this type of scam 

  • If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately and report it.
  • Check out the resource below for more in-depth information.

Scams targeting Chinese students fact sheet 

Fake Business Invoice Scam

How this scam works 

The scammer poses as a real business you’ve recently dealt with. They will send a fake invoice with changed payment details, so your money ends up with the scammer rather than the business. They often target travel and car purchases, using copied logos and numbers to seem legitimate. 

How to avoid this type of scam 

  • Compare the invoice to a genuine business email or invoice, and look for discrepancies in payment details. 
  • Contact the actual business and ask them to verify the account details before paying. 

Rental Scams

How this scam works

There are different types of rental scams, such as advertising and collecting payment for a property that doesn't exist, renting out a property that doesn't belong to them, or misrepresented properties lacking advertised amenities. 

How to avoid this type of scam 

  • If you feel unsure about a rental agreement, before signing, call the WA Department of Commerce and Tenancy on 1300 304 054 or email them at
  • Go through a rental agency or trustworthy website. Websites like and only accept listings from registered agents. Avoid searching for properties on social media or Gumtree.  
  • Be wary of alternative payment methods like cryptocurrency, gift cards, or cash. These payment methods are difficult to trace. 
  • If they won’t let you inspect the property prior to signing the lease, chances are it doesn’t exist, or it’s in poor condition. Always insist on inspecting the property before signing any lease.
  • Be aware that no one should hold your passport or other important documents while you’re renting from them. 

How to protect yourself from scams

Misleading job and business opportunity ads are unlawful under the Australian Consumer Law. If you are looking for a job, you should always find out the following information from the employer: 

  • The employment status – will you be a permanent/casual/fixed-term employee? Will your hours be part-time, full-time, or casual? 

  • What type of work will you have to do? I.e. what are your duties?  

  • If you would be covered by a Modern Award, Enterprise Agreement, or an employment contract.  

  • How much, when, and how you will be paid.  

  • Whether the total pay includes superannuation.  

  • Where the employer operates from. 

  • Create strong passwords that include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Change your passwords regularly and make sure they don’t contain any personal information such as your birth date.  

  • Use two-factor authentication (2FA), especially on accounts that include important personal information.  

  • Update software regularly on your phone and computer for improved security on your devices.  

  • Look out for fake emails and phishing scams. If you feel suspicious about an email or text, do not click on any links or take any actions. 

  • Student fee payments can only be made through your institution or agent. Do not make student fee payments to someone you don’t know. If you are unsure, call your institution to confirm before payment.  

  • If you get a suspicious call or text message, please report it here.