In 2017, over 160,000 reports were made to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) of scams costing over $90 million dollars. Those over the age of 45 seem to be the hardest hit so what can you do to keep your hard-earnt money safe and your identity protected?
The scammer at the other end of the phone, email or text has no idea who you are or where you live. You are simply an email address or phone number to them. These unscrupulous people are hoping to:
- Trick you into paying them money or providing personal details that can be used fraudulently
- Transfer some kind of malware or virus to your computer in the hope of extorting money
Regardless of how official an email or a text message looks, or how vital a phone call sounds, it is important to note that a legitimate organisation will never ask you to:
- Pay money before you can receive a refund or payment
- Pay a debt using iTunes vouchers, gift cards or pre-paid credit cards
- Provide personal information via email or SMS
- Pay money into a personal bank account
- Download files or open attachments in unsolicited emails
If you are not sure if the email, text message or phone call is legitimate, contact the organisation direct for confirmation.
5 ways to stay safe
The best way to protect yourself is through awareness and education including the:
- Purchase, installation and ongoing subscription of anti-virus software
- Creation of an email address which is hard to guess by using an unusual combination of characters (ie. firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Reduction of the websites and places in which you enter your details and only provide the minimum amount of information needed
- Familiarisation of the “tell-tale” signs of a fake email
- Subscription to Scamwatch at scamwatch.gov.au
If you have any questions about scams or need some help with your devices, please call Christine David of IT 4 Retirees Pty Ltd on 0401-017-459 or send an email to email@example.com.