Think before you click!

Posted on: April 12th, 2016

Cyber criminals have been circulating the internet for years with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reporting that in the first 6 months of 2015 Australians had already lost $45 million to scams! The report also found that 45.1% of scams were delivered over the phone/to a mobile device, 33.1% delivered via email, and only 8% delivered purely over the email*.

Scammers are become increasingly sophisticated and come in many shapes and sizes. We have compiled a list of recommendations by the ACCC about how you can best protect yourself.

  1. Be aware that scams do exist: 
    • Always be aware that scams exist over the phone, email, mail, in person, and/or on a social networking site. Always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam – it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
  2. Always know who you’re dealing with before you agree to anything: 
    • If you’re unsure of the legitimacy of a business, then take some time to research. Search the business name, do a Google image search on photos, look for past client testimonials, etc.
  3. Don’t open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or emails: 
    • If you receive something and you are unsure about it, delete it before you open it.
  4. Remember to always keep your personal details secure: 
    • Some simple things you can do at home include: putting a lock on your mailbox, shredding mail or important documents with your information on them before throwing them away, and being select with who you share your home security code with. Also remember to your passwords and pin numbers in a safe place, and be careful with the information you share on social site.
  5. Always keep your mobile devices and computers secure: 
    • Always use password protection, update security software and back up content (onPlatinum ICT can help you with this). Protect your Wi-Fi network with a password and avoid using public computers or Wi-Fi hotspots to access online banking or anything relating to your personal information.
  6. Be selective when choosing a password: 
    • Don’t choose a password with your name and birthday (or your partners name and birthday). Choose passwords that would be difficult for others to guess and remember to update them regularly. A strong password should include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Finally, don’t use the same password for everything.
  7. Be alert to any requests for your details or for money: 
    • Unless you know them personally (or in a business sense) never send money or give credit card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust. Also, don’t agree to transfer money or goods for someone else because money laundering is a criminal offence.
  8. 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. If it doesn’t seem right, then it probably isn’t.

If you would like more information including a list of companies to avoid, investment scams, banking and credit card scams, etc., then please have a look at the ASIC’s MoneySmart website found here and the ACCC’s ScamWatch website found here.

Should you be experiencing any issues with scams or would like anymore information about this topic please contact our support desk on 1300 428 667 and choosing option 1.

*Source: ‘Australians lose $45 million to scams in 2015’, ACCC, 13 July 2015, https://goo.gl/2XGeIT.

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