That Little Black Book of Scams

I was reading Ian’s article “Be Scam Aware” the other day and decided to do a little weekend CSI on the internet. (Yes, we lawyers have no life.)

This is what I found. The Little Black Book of Scams, first published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in 2008 and revised in 2011. The cruel satirical title aside, the booklet contains a detailed collection of almost every discoverable scam and rip off scheme in Australia and perhaps beyond. It also has an instructive component which I think would assist members of the general public to assess their everyday situation from the ground perspective. I personally find those instructions in the booklet enchanting and decided to add a little more to include some further clarity. Here goes.

The Five-Step Thought Process to Scam Prevention


As our society evolves and modernises, the façade of many day to day details change. Despite so, there are certain established elements in the society that will stand the test of time, such as logic and common sense. It is with this in mind, we should understand that when someone provides us with a proposition that defies our logic and common sense, we should just walk away with a smile.


Use a third person perspective and detach yourself from the circumstances for a moment. What advice would you give someone if they were in the same situation as you are?

Take that advice which you just gave.


Pause. Have a big pause and think. Just like what Ian has said, “don’t be swayed by pressure tactics”. If there is one thing that is consistent in the historical tradition of the scamming trade, it would be to minimise the decision making time frame and stop their targeted victim from thinking. Careful thoughts empower the individual and will provide him or her with proper leverage to topple the scammers from their dominant position in the scheme.


Research. Research. Research. You do have time for it and there are in fact resources available to the public. Ian has suggested which is a great start. For the less technology savvy portion of the society, speak to a family member or a friend to assist you. If still in doubt, speak to a professional for independent advice on your situation.

Ask Yourself

This the point where one collects him or herself and asks, “have I asked all the right questions and obtained an adequate amount of information to make an informed decision?”

From my research, I note ACCC has issued a scam warning in relation to Domain Name Scams. This again goes to show the adaptive nature of the scamming industry. However, if you have followed the five-step thought process as suggested in ACCC’s Little Black Book of Scams, it would be unlikely that you will end up as a trophy to their escapade.

Perhaps, as an ending note, I would like to point out that the enterprises in the scamming industry could not thrive in an environment where the individuals and businesses receive good advice and perform proper due diligence in each of their genuine pursuits.

If you think you might be caught in a Domain Name or other Business Scam, speak to our intellectual property and commercial law firm at McLaughlins Lawyers on the Gold Coast and we will assist you in coming up with a solution tailored to your personal and business needs.