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What is an unexpected money or winnings scam?

An unexpected money or winnings scam is when you are asked to pay money up front or give your personal details to receive money or a prize. These scams are also known as inheritance, Nigerian prince, rebate, scratchie, travel prize, lottery or unexpected money scams.

What is an employment scam?

An employment scam is when you are offered a job that requires an upfront payment for training, materials or stock and the job does not exist or you are unable to earn enough to recoup your investment.

The fake employer may steal your information by requesting things like a copy of your Driver’s Licence or Passport, as part of the application process.

How they contact you

You are most likely to receive this time of scam via email, text message or by phone.

How they contact you1 % How they contact you1 %





Text message


Mobile applications




In person


Social networking


Not applicable






What they're after

Unexpected money, winnings and employment scams are after your money by asking for payments up front or personal information to steal your identity or money. They may also want you to unknowingly perform illegal activities such as transferring money or goods on their behalf, as part of money laundering criminal activities.

Signs this may be a job or money scam

A person contacts you with “authentic” looking documentation saying you are owed money, an inheritance or have won a prize. 

Do not give personal details or pay money. Research details on the internet or only call numbers you trust.

You are requested to pay for training, starter kits or have been asked to provide extensive personal information, prior to starting your new job.

Do not act. This may be a scam leaving you out of pocket or your identity stolen.

The job requires you to find other investors/employees to make money.

Do not engage. This may be an illegal pyramid scheme where profits are mainly made from new people joining the company or system. 

The job pays a commission to make transfers on a client’s behalf through your own account, cash, wire transfers or crypto currencies.

Do not do this. This may be money laundering and is a federal crime punishable by imprisonment.

Who should I contact if I encounter examples of unexpected money and employment scam?

Frank was sent this SMS text message saying he had received £6,500,000. He had not entered in any competitions but had family who lived in the UK so thought one of them may have entered on his behalf.


He clicked on the link in the SMS text message, which asked him for some additional personal information. It also provided instructions on transferring £250.00 to claim the prize money.


Frank did not receive the prize money and never saw his £250.00 again. He is also worried what the scammers might do with the personal information he provided.

John was contacted by an employment agency, about an urgent job opening with a company he had not heard of.

John was advised he would be placed in the new role as soon as he completed training, which required an upfront payment of $800. He was reassured he would be reimbursed the money in his 1st salary payment.

John was keen to get started and transferred the money for the training along with a copy of his drivers’ licence and tax file number as this was explained as a requirement to start the job.

Once payment was made for the “training” there was no further correspondence. The job did not exist, and his money was never recovered.

Regina saw a job advertisement offering a part time role, working from home, and the ability to work flexible hours which seemed to fit her family’s needs.
Regina started out doing administration tasks. After a short time, she was told she was doing well, and the company wanted to expand her role.

The new tasks included receiving and processing payments through her own bank account on behalf of the company, for which she was paid a percentage commission for each payment she made.

Regina did not realise, until she was contacted by the bank about some of the transactions, that funds coming into her account were reported by other financial institutions as having been scammed from others. By Regina forwarding the payments on she was acting as a money mule.


Regina assisted the bank in their investigation by providing details of all previous payments and instructions she had received.

Latest Scams

To stay in the loop, and stay protected, check out our list of the latest phishing scams impersonating Westpac.

Report a scam

If you receive any suspicious calls, emails or SMS messages, or notice unusual activity on your account, it’s important that you let us know.

Security Wellbeing Check

To help keep you up to date with the latest security features, we’ve introduced the Security Wellbeing Check. Found in the Westpac App, it checks your Westpac settings and suggests how you can improve the security of your banking facilities.

Things you should know

1. Delivery method percentages are based on the number of reports from 1 January 2020 to 31 October 2020. The data is sourced from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) scam watch website and is based on reports provided to the ACCC by web form and over the phone.

* Examples are based on one or more real scam reports received by Westpac. For privacy purposes real names have not been used.