The phishing scam


Close lesson
You have completed 0%

The Phishing Scam

A woman points to something on the computer screen next to a student

What's coming up?

Phishing scams most commonly occur by telephone, but can also happen via email, text messages and on the internet. They are called phishing scams because they're fishing for information on you. (The ph in place of the f comes from phone).

In this activity, we'll go through how phishing scams work and how to identify them.

Start activity

How to recognise a phishing scam

Most phishing scams start with an email, text message or phone call that seems to be from a business you trust, such as a bank, government agency or your phone company.

It threatens that something might happen to your finances or services if you don’t confirm your personal information or account details using your phone, or by logging into a website provided by the scammer.

An example of an email that appears to be from your bank but could be a scam.
An email that looks legitimate from an electrical company with the subject of the email as 'Pay your bill now!'

But it looks like the real thing!

A phishing website may look a lot like the real website of your bank, electricity or phone company, but it is actually fake, and so is the phone number.

If you give your details to the website or person on the phone, you're actually giving them to a scammer.

What should you do?

Never provide your personal information or account details, either by email or on the phone, if you are contacted "out of the blue" by someone claiming to be from a reputable company.

If you're unsure about a telephone message or an email you receive, contact the bank or business yourself to check if the message you received is genuine.

Be sure to use your own contact information for the organisation. Don't trust any contact information in the email or phone call.

A man calls his bank on his mobile to check if he is being scammed or not

What to do with a phishing email

If you suspect you have received a phishing email, there are some simple steps to follow.

  1. Never click on a link in a phishing email. All links will either confirm you exist to the scammers, or take you to a fake website where they hope you will enter your private information.
An example of a phishing email that looks like it's from myGov
An example of a phishing email  with the delete button highlighted

Get rid of the message

  1. Always delete the email. Depending on what type of email account you have, there will be a Delete or Trash button in the menu.

Warn others

  1. Help others know about the scam by reporting it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) ScamWatch website available at
An image of a hacker next to the ScamWatch logo and website address:
An icon of a padlock

eSafety tip

Always remember, your bank will never contact you by text, phone or email to ask you to confirm your account or log in details. Similarly, government departments will not call you threatening legal action if you don't take immediate action to resolve an issue.

Naturally, it is upsetting to receive these types of calls or messages. Scammers rely on people being worried and not thinking straight, and then rushing to "fix" the problem. If you do receive calls or messages of this type, stay calm and don't provide any information. You can always call your bank or a government department back to double-check (using contact details you source yourself) to put your mind at rest.

A shoemaker makes his daily life easier with the help of his tablet


You've completed The phishing scam activity.

You've learnt that if somebody contacts you out of the blue and asks you to hand over personal information, you shouldn't trust them - no matter who they say they work for.

Next up, we look at Unexpected money scams and how they try to trick you into paying money.