Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get your money or personal details. Be alert and protect yourself from being scammed by following our tips. Today we are giving many helpful tips and tricks so you can protect yourself.
Scams target everyone
Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels across Australia. There’s no one group of people who are more likely to become a victim of a scam, all of us may be vulnerable to a scam at some time.
Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it. Scammers are getting smarter and taking advantage of new technology, new products or services and major events to create believable stories that will convince you to give them your money or personal details.
- Be alert to the fact that scams exist. When dealing with uninvited contacts from people or businesses, whether it’s over the phone, by mail, email, in person or on a social networking site, always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Scams exist,
- Know who you’re dealing with. If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a business, take some time to do a bit more research. Do a Google image search on photos or search the internet for others who may have had dealings with them. If a message or email comes from a friend and it seems unusual or out of character for them, contact your friend directly to check that it was really them that sent it.
- Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails – delete them: If unsure, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Don’t use the contact details provided in the message sent to you, go to their official website
- Don’t respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access – hang up – even if they mention a well-known company such as Telstra. Scammers will often ask you to turn on your computer to fix a problem or install a free upgrade, which is actually a virus which will give them your passwords and personal details. Also, there is ransomware, where folks can force you to pay money to free up your computer
- Keep your personal details secure. Keeping your personal details online is important, but your physical details should be secure as well, we are talking mailboxes etc, Put a lock on your mailbox and shred your bills and other important documents before throwing them out. cut up drivers licenses, ID’s debit cards, Keep your passwords and pin numbers in a safe place. Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social media sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.
- Keep your mobile devices and computers secure. Always use password protection, don’t share access with others (including remotely), update security software and back up content. Protect your WiFi network with a password and avoid using public computers or WiFi hotspots to access online banking or provide personal information. I suggest to use Norton VPN (Not sponsored, just a personal preference)
- Choose your passwords carefully. Choose passwords that would be difficult for others to guess and update them regularly. A strong password should include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for every account/profile, and don’t share your passwords with anyone. Change your passwords every 3 months or so, make sure to have 2FA (Tow Factor Authentication!)
- Review your privacy and security settings on social media. If you use social networking sites, such as Facebook, be careful who you connect with and learn how to use your privacy and security settings to ensure you stay safe. If you recognise suspicious behaviour, clicked on spam or have been scammed online, take steps to secure your account and be sure to report it.
- Beware of any requests for your details or money. Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust. Don’t agree to transfer money or goods for someone else: money laundering is a criminal offence.
- Be wary of unusual payment requests. Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, including preloaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or virtual currency such as Bitcoin. COMPANIES WILL NEVER ASK YOU FOR PAYMENT VIA GIFT CARD!
- Be careful when shopping online. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true, and always use an online shopping service that you know and trust. Think twice before using virtual currencies (like Bitcoin) – they do not have the same protections as other transaction methods, which means you can’t get your money back once you send it. Learn more about online shopping scams.
Clues for spotting a fake email
Clues for spotting a fake email
Scammers can easily fake an official-looking email, using the same logo and design as the real company.
Often your guard is down when you receive an email from a company you’ve dealt with before, such as Australia Post or an online shopping site you use. If you’re not expecting an email, always be alert to a fake before clicking on any links or opening any attachments.