Online scams and hacks are the new era of criminals,
particularly cyber criminals. The prevalence of new, upcoming and
repeat scams is alarming. Scammers just won't give up and they
are trying to reel you in every possible way from software update
scams to government official impersonators.
Following on from that article, here are some of the more common
scams doing the rounds at the moment:
Fake brand websites: scammers set up websites
that look like the genuine store and copy pictures and the format
of the original website. The give away is in the way scammers ask
for payment which is either by wire transfer, pre loaded debit
cards or bitcoins. These forms of payment are either not secure or
Tips: Before you buy online, check the website thoroughly for
any indication that it is a scam including grammatical errors, no
refund policy or no contact details. Then go online and do your
research about the website. If others have had a bad experience you
will usually find something indicating this and hopefully with a
warning that it is a scam website.
Microsoft software upgrades: scammers are
continuing to try and reel people in by sending emails (and even
making calls) pretending to be from Microsoft and offering the
latest update to Windows 10. They have been known to send out
emails offering to fast track your upgrade if you follow a link and
download an installer program. If you download the software, your
computer will be infected with malware. Alternatively, the scammers
also try the remote access scam where they claim you have security
issues in which they can fix for a fee.
Tips: If you receive this email, do not open attachments, do not
click on hyperlinks and do not respond. Check the email address for
authenticity. But, most importantly, note that Microsoft will never
call you about your software.
Lottery scams: a long running scam where
scammers have been using social media platforms to send messages
advising recipients they have won a sum of money from a lottery or
competition. Personal information is then requested for your
so-called winnings to be transferred but not before you are
required to pay "fees" or "taxes". Beware as
this scam often does the rounds via SMS too and also on
Tips: Ignore and block the recipient from being able to contact
you via the social media platform. If you received the message via
SMS, you also are able to block that number.
Fake fines: scammers have recently been
sending emails containing fake speeding fines or other
infringements and warning you to pay up or face the consequences.
The emails can often look genuine as scammers copy logos and
Tips: To avoid falling victim to this scam, go to the SRDO website and enter
in the penalty/infringement number to check the validity or simply
give SDRO a call.
Centrelink employees: scammers have been
impersonating Centrelink employees trying to trick you into handing
over personal details for the purposes of an identity theft. They
may even ask you to pay some sort of fee and threaten that if you
do not then your payments will be cut off. This scam may come in
the form of an email too.
Tips: if you receive this call, hang up. Call Centrelink and
they will be able to confirm if it was a genuine call.
What can you do if you fall victim?
If you have provided bank or credit card details, promptly
phone your financial institution.
If you have provided personal information you may want to alert
the ATO, RMS or any other applicable organisation to warn of a
potential identity theft.
Change all your online logins and passwords.
Report the scam to the company/organisation that the scammer
was claiming to be from
Report the scam to Scamwatch
which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The website also provides very useful information to consumers and
businesses about how to recognise and avoid scams and also has an
extensive list of scams to watch out for.
If you are able to identify who scammed you and have suffered
loss (whether that be monetary, identity or personal information),
you may be able to take legal action, particularly if the
person/company is in Australia.
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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