Online Scamming…. What you should know!
Facebook, google, emails and all other social media sites are such an important part in our every day lives, making scammers jobs a lot easier. With huge social media platforms and the amount of people using them only getting bigger its prime time for scammers to scam! Scammers may pretend to be from a government agency, a well-known company like an energy or telephone provider, Australia Post, a bank or even the police. Their aim is to scare you into parting with your money or personal information and if you don’t, they threaten you with fines, disconnecting your internet, taking you to court, arrest or even deportation. This is how they scam!
TIPS TO AVOID SCAMMERS:
- Protect and regularly change passwords they should consist of letter and numbers and something not obvious, to make it harder to crack;
- If something seems dodgy DO YOUR RESEARCH;
- Stop and think before you click on email or other attachments as they maybe scams;
- Pay for anti-virus software on your computer. You can purchase this from an internet provider, a computer shop or a professional provider in the area this makes it harder for scammers;
- Safely store or dispose of your personal and financial information such as statements, receipts, financial documents and any other documents that may hold personal information;
- Check your statements regularly to identify any irregular transactions. Know when your utility bills are due and who your providers are. If an online bill comes at the wrong time or from a company that isn’t one of your usuals, delete or call the company straight away;
- Most banks offer facilities that enable you to look and block certain types of transactions immediately. You can do this online, by phone or in the branch;
- Always access internet banking site by typing the bank’s address into your web browser, not by clicking the links on emails etc;
- Don’t do internet banking using a public computer or public wifi and be vigilant doing it in public places;
- If you believe you have been scammed, call your bank immediately in some cases money may be refunded, but you need to be quick;
Elderly people are often the most targeted by scammers via the phone as they often still use a landline which is used regularly and are extremely easy to target.
Some popular scams via phone are:
- People pretending that your computer is broken and while you thinks you’re giving them your details to try and fix it you actually giving them all your information for them to then hack.
- People pretending to be the ATO or other government agencies saying you owe them money.
- A phone call pretending to be from the bank and then when you call your bank to check they are still on the line ready to take personal information and clear out your account.
- Another example is convincing you that they need your banking password and login to help catch a scammer and they end up getting it all and taking all your money.
Scammers usually are automated calls, sent out at random until someone answers. Generally there is silence at the start of the call (this is a good way to indicate that it maybe a scam), the scammer will start talking if they know you are there. Always ask the name and employee ID of the person you are speaking to if in doubt and they should be able to tell you without hesitation. Ensure that you never share personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and know its legitimate. Microsoft, Telstra or other computer/phone companies do not monitor your phone/ computer. IF IN DOUBT, JUST HANG UP!
Email scams usually come through pretending to be either you bank, utility company or another believable site. By clicking on the link or an attachment in the email, scammers can then download all your personal software, so they can access your computer and trace everything you do. Sometimes the email might ask for personal information such as passwords, bank details and even things like your user name, which scammers then use to access accounts and retrieve money! PLEASE NOTE A BANK WOULD NOT ASK FOR YOUR DETAILS!
What to look out for:
Check all emails carefully. Look at the logo and email address. Are there any spelling or any grammar mistakes? No bank will request personal information via email, EVER. It just not in the companies’ interests to communicate via email as emails go astray. Just click delete if you’re suspicious, do an internet search using the exact names or words of the email. You’re likely to see lots of other people who have also been targeted, many scams are identified in this way.
ADVANCE FREE FRAUD:
The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the scammer requires in order to obtain the large sum. For example the scammer asking for a fee upfront to secure a bigger prize for example pay $100 to secure the holiday or something like this.
What to look for:
Any unexpected exciting or valuable offers that come up via email, letter or phone, especially if that asks you for a up-front cost such as administration, postage fees or shipping costs. NEVER SEND MONEY OR GIVE IMPORTANT DETAILS TO PEOPLE YOU DON’T KNOW.
PRETENDING TO BE SOMEONE OF AUTHORITY:
Scammers will go to extraordinary lengths to take money from people. The term stand over tactics means using intimidation or threat of force to coerce others into submission or compliance. This with scammers means they will pretend to be of someone of higher authority eg government agencies who say you owe money. They will threaten to arrest you, charge you etc etc until you give them what they want.
What to look for?
Be aware that representatives will never threaten you for money and should always provide their name and affiliation. People of government agencies won’t ask for bank details etc over the phone.
WHAT TO DO?
Its important that if you feel you have been scammed to report it, this ensures other people don’t go through the same thing. If you feel like your money has been taken from your account its important to tell your bank and they maybe able to get it back for you.
Its important to remember IF IN DOUBT HANG UP! Hopefully the tips in this article helps you to avoid being scammed.