Seven weird scams to watch out for on the Northern Rivers

SO FAR in 2016, Australians have lost more than $21 million to various types of scams.

Latest data on the Scamwatch website show this money is being lost in a variety of ways - via email, over the phone, in person and even by old fashioned snail mail.

But it's not just the usual scams that are claiming victims.

Using the Scamwatch information, we've put together a list of some of the weirdest - and scariest - scams doing the rounds:

1. The Hitman Scam: A typical email or text message reads: 'Someone paid me to kill you. If you want me to spare you, I'll give you two days to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, you will die. I am monitoring you.'

2. Dating or romance scam (also known as 'catfishing'): These scammers will express strong emotions for you in a short period of time. They go to great lengths to gain your interest and trust. But once you let your defences are down, they will ask you for money, gifts or your banking/credit card details. Dating and romance scammers can pose a safety risk as they are often part of international criminal networks.

3. Fake charities: Fake charities try to take advantage of your generosity and compassion by posing as a genuine charity. They often take the form of a response to real disasters or emergencies, such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes and bushfires.

4. Psychic and clairvoyant: These scams foreshadow a positive upcoming event, or claim that you are in trouble. The scammer offers a solution - winning lottery numbers, a lucky charm, the removal of a curse or jinx - all in return for a fee, of course. If you refuse, the scammer threatens to put a curse on you.

5. Betting and sports: This entices victims with promises of a software program that accurately predicts sporting results, usually of team sports or horse racing. They promise high returns or profits.

6. Health and medical: Miracle cures, cheap products that you never receive or medicines without the need of prescription.

7. Jobs and employment: Imagine this - a job that requires very little effort but you still earn plenty of money. Sounds too good to be true? Well it is. It's a scam, and you could very quickly have your bank account emptied.

Protect yourself and help protect others - visit the Scamwatch website to find out more about these and other scams.

It also has information about what to do if you fall victim to a scam.

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