Find frequently asked questions regarding the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network.

What is the ACORN?

The ACORN is an online reporting facility for cybercrime. The ACORN makes it easier for the public to report cybercrime, get the information they need to protect themselves online and ensure agencies can respond more quickly. The ACORN will also provide a clearer picture of the cybercrime affecting Australians. This will help improve our operational and policy responses.

The ACORN is a national policing initiative of the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. You can report the most common types of cybercrime to the ACORN.

How do I report a cybercrime on the ACORN?

We have tried to make the reporting process as quick and simple as possible. You will be asked a series of questions about the incident, which should take around 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

Once a report has been submitted, the ACORN will assess whether the report should be referred to law enforcement agencies for consideration and possible investigation. This assessment is based on a number of factors, including the type and severity of the incident, where the suspect is located and whether the report contains sufficient information about the offender.

Every report submitted on the ACORN is treated seriously and helps our law enforcement and government agencies to develop a clearer picture of cybercrime affecting Australians. Making a false report to the ACORN website may constitute a criminal offence under Commonwealth, state or territory law.

Please be aware that not all reports to the ACORN will be referred or investigated. However, your report is important as it helps us monitor cybercrime trends and develop better prevention advice on new and emerging forms of cybercrime. There is no need to contact police to follow up on your report. If a law enforcement agency needs further information to investigate your incident, you will be contacted. The ACORN receives a large number of reports and it may take some time for law enforcement agencies to respond to your incident.

I received an email asking for my bank account information and think it may be a scam. Should I report this to the ACORN?

You should report the scam to your bank in the first instance.

Check your bank account for any suspicious transactions and contact the bank to report the scam. Remember, do not click on any links in the email. The links provided will be to a fake website which may have a similar address to your bank's real website. The email may also ask you to download security software which is really a virus.

You should also report the scam to the ACORN. Please provide as much information as possible about yourself (i.e. name, email address, mailing address etc) and the perpetrator.

There are many different types of online scams. Learn how to protect yourself by being on the lookout for online scams.

I think someone is using my personal information to access my bank account. Should I report this to the ACORN?

Yes. Be sure to include as much information as possible about yourself (i.e. name, email address, mailing address, etc.) the perpetrator, and the crime you are reporting.

Learn more about identity theft, and how you can protect yourself against becoming a victim.

Where can I get further advice on protecting against cybercrime?

Cybercrime prevention can be straight-forward – when armed with a little technical advice and common sense, many attacks can be avoided.

In general, online criminals are trying to make their money as quickly and easily as possible. The more difficult you make their job, the more likely they are to leave you alone and move on to an easier target. The tips below provide basic information on how you can prevent online fraud:

  1. Keep your computer current with the latest patches and updates,
  2. Make sure your computer is configured securely,
  3. Choose strong passwords and keep them safe,
  4. Protect your computer with security software,
  5. Protect your personal information,
  6. Online offers that look too good to be true usually are,
  7. Review bank and credit card statements regularly,

Read more information about protecting and preventing against cybercrime. 

While police have primary responsibility for criminal activity occurring online, there are other organisations which may be able to help in some cases. You may wish to consider reporting your matter to the following agencies:

  • The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s SCAMwatch website which takes reports of scams. If you have fallen victim to a scam, you should report the matter to the ACORN. Where a crime may not have occurred, but the matter involves a scam, this can be reported to SCAMwatch to help keep Australians informed about the latest range of scams in circulation. Information on online scams reported to the ACORN will be shared with the ACCC.
  • The Australian Securities and Investments Commission for financial and investment scams
  • The Australian Taxation Office for tax-related schemes/scams including if you have provided a scammer with your Tax File Number
  • Your bank or financial institution for banking and credit card scams – contact them immediately
  • The Australian Communications and Media Authority for spam emails

Local consumer protection agencies

While the ACCC is the national agency dealing with general consumer protection matters, state and territory agencies also play an important role in fighting scams:

Can I make an anonymous report to the ACORN?

Yes, the ACORN accepts anonymous reports. Please be aware though that the site logs IP addresses of all reports received. This is to ensure that malicious reporting can be detected and acted on. Please view our Privacy Policy for more details.

What will happen after I make a report?

Every report submitted to the ACORN is treated seriously and helps our law enforcement and government agencies to develop a clearer picture of cybercrime trends which affect Australians.

Shortly after you make a report to the ACORN, you will receive a report confirmation email with a unique ACORN reference number. This is the only email that you will receive from the ACORN. If you receive further emails purporting to be from the ACORN, please inform us using our feedback form as the email may be a scam. ACORN will never email you asking for money or personal details.

The information you provide in your report may be forwarded to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies with jurisdiction. It is intended that all reports will be referred to the appropriate agency with jurisdiction; however, investigation and prosecution is at the discretion of the receiving agencies.

Please be aware that the ACORN is not able to provide advice on the investigation status of a previously filed complaint.

I have submitted a report but haven’t heard anything, why not?

If you have already lodged a report, you do not need to submit an additional report or ring your local police station. All reports are assessed, and if a police agency is investigating and you have provided your contact details, you will be contacted.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of cybercrime not all reports can be investigated. Many perpetrators are located overseas, and often money cannot be recovered if sent via wire transfer services.

However, be assured that the information that you provide will help to prevent and disrupt further criminal activity.

I have evidence that supports my report. Can I send it to the ACORN?

We do not collect evidence regarding reports. Keep all original documents in a secure location. In the event a law enforcement agency opens an investigation, investigators may seek that information directly from you. Evidence may include, but is not limited to cancelled cheques; certified or other mail receipts; chat room or newsgroup text; credit card receipts; envelopes; wire receipts; money order receipts; pamphlets or brochures; printed or preferably electronic copies of emails (if printed, include full email header information); printed or preferably electronic copies of web pages.

Can I file a complaint via phone?

No. The ACORN will only accept reports via the online reporting facility. Reports via telephone, mail, fax, or email will not be accepted.

Where can I go to get further support?

Falling victim to any type of cybercrime can have a significant emotional impact. The ACORN offers a range of information for people seeing emotional support including links to victim support services offered nationally and in each state and territory, as well as financial supportsupport for children and advice on combating identity theft.

How can the media make enquiries about the ACORN?

All media enquiries should be made via the feedback form. Please state which organisation you work for and leave a contact phone number.