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Latest Scams

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Scams are on the rise. The best way to protect yourself is to be aware.

 

Remote access scams

A remote access scam is when a scammer contacts you via phone, text or email claiming to be from a company you may be familiar with such as your bank, a utility company, telecommunication services (such as NBN) or a government agency.

Scammers will trick people into gaining access to their phone or computer providing them full access to personal information from a remote location. Scammers will try to convince you to install software on your computer or device to gain access to your personal and financial information.

How to protect yourself

  • Never provide a caller with remote access to your computer.
  • Never provide your personal details to a caller you don’t know over the phone.
  • Tip: if in doubt, hang up and call your service provider directly via their publicly listed number.
  • Never share your login information with anyone over the phone, via text or email (we will never ask you for login details), including one time passwords or security tokens.
  • Make sure you complete regular software updates on your devices and ensure that anti-virus software installed on devices is up to date.

Business Email Compromise (BEC)

Scammers will take advantage of businesses at busy times such as the end of financial year.

This may be in the form of false billing scams where scammers will issue fake invoices to businesses for unwanted or unauthorised advertisements, products or services.

How to protect yourself

  • If you are unsure if an email notification has come from a real sender, make sure you verify a change in BSB and account number verbally with the business prior to making payments.
  • Be wary of requests via email to transfer funds outside of your normal business process, even if the request appears to come from your CEO or senior manager.
  • If you receive a bill or invoice for a service you do not recall requesting, do your own research to search for the business' details and contact them directly to make an enquiry about the payment prior to transferring any funds.

Investment scams

Investment scams will be masked as an offer to purchase cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin), business ventures, superannuation schemes, managed funds and the sale, or purchase of, shares or property.

Scammers will create ‘opportunities’ with professional brochures, websites and advertisement to mask fraudulent activities and trick individuals into taking up the offer.

How to protect yourself

  • Before putting money into an investment, do some of your own research. You can check if the company has an Australian Financial Services Licence by visiting www.moneysmart.gov.au
  • Watch out for offers promoting the ability to have easy and early access to your superannuation.
  • Don’t be pressured into making an investment or decision about your money, especially if you’re presented with an opportunity via unsolicited email or phone call. Always seek advice from a reputable financial advisor and raise concerns with your local branch.

Romance scams

Dating and romance scammers create fake profiles on real dating websites and social media platforms often using images and photos of identities they have stolen from other people.

Romance scammers will use their fake profile to try and enter online relationships in order to obtain money.

How to protect yourself

  • Never send money or provide your personal financial details to someone you have only ever met online.
  • Be wary about communicating with a person outside a dating website if you’ve only had a few conversations with them on that platform.
  • Be careful about sharing photos of yourself with a person you’ve only recently met online as scammers regularly seek to use photos for criminal purposes.
  • If you are unsure about someone you have met online, you can complete an image search via Google.

Online shopping scams

This includes puppy scams & buyer/seller disputes.

Unfortunately, scammers love online shopping too and can easily create very convincing yet fake websites for you to complete your purchases.

A key thing to look for is an unusual method of payment such as a wire transfer, prepaid cards or cheques. Online retailers would not ask you to make payments for goods through an online store via these methods.

How to protect yourself

  • Know who you are buying from. Check the About Us and refund policy sections of the website.
  • Look for websites with a https and a closed padlock symbol.
  • Identify if the online store has a mailing address to send returns.
  • Only make payments for products via the website secure payment method - you should not need to pay via wire transfer, prepaid card or cheque.

General tips to help keep you secure

  • Keep your computer up to date by installing the latest security software and 'patches' for your operating system
  • Ensure you have installed anti-virus/spyware software installed along with a firewall – and keep them up to date
  • Make sure you have a current backup of your important personal information/files
  • Delete spam emails and do not open email attachments or click on links in emails from strangers
  • Do not respond to an unsolicited email asking you for personal information or financial details
  • Be aware of email, internet and telephone hoaxes and scams – if something appears too good to be true, it almost certainly is
  • If possible, avoid using shared computers, such as those at internet cafes, hotels and airports
  • For more information on how keep yourself secure online please see the Stay Smart Online website.

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