It's Christmas time and scammers are out to try and take
advantage of you when you least expect it. The latest scam tries to
hide behind the Christmas mail rush by posing as postal services.
People have already complained of receiving emails from what appear
to be from a legitimate parcel delivery service such as Australia
Post or FedEx.
The scammers say they weren't able to deliver a parcel at
your home as you were out, and information on how to retrieve the
parcel is attached to the email.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission warns not to
open the attachment as it is what's called Ransomware,
a type of malware that restricts access to the computer system it
infects. You then get a demand to pay a ransom to have the
restriction removed. The ACCC warns that even if you do pay there
is no guarantee your computer will be unlocked.
Another variation to the scam is they say they will redeliver
the "missed" parcel if you pay a fee. This can be
anything from $10 to $30 to be paid by credit card. It's the
last you'll see of the money and there's a danger
they'll get into your credit card and personal finances.
The ACCC says delivery firms such as Australia Post should not
be asking for money to complete their delivery. They have a
contractual requirement to deliver a parcel paid for by the sender.
If you get an email like this, best delete it quickly. Don't
open the attachment.
Many people are lonely over Christmas and scammers are experts
at playing on people's vulnerabilities. Dating and romance
scams increased 13 per cent in 2013 - a total 2,770 reports to the
ACCC. Twenty-five million dollars was reported to have been ripped
off by scammers from people seeking love and friendship via the
Internet. More than 400 people lost more than $10,000. And those
are the people not too embarrassed to report their mistake to the
Some hot tips to avoid scammers' traps:
Back off as soon as they ask for money. It'll be a plea for
a sick relative, they're stranded, need to pay for a ticket or
pay their way out of a tough spot.
Don't go alone to meet them. It can be dangerous. If you
must go, meet in public.
Don't hand over financial or personal identification
They've used saucy photos to blackmail people.
Check their identity. They often use fake pictures.
If you fear your finances are at risk, contact your bank
If ripped off seek legal advice. There could be legal avenues
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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