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It's National Scams Awareness Week And We Want You To Stay Safe!

21 May 2018

This National Scams Awareness Week, we want you to understand how you could be scammed but, more importantly, how you can go about protecting yourself from becoming a victim.

We have joined forces with our friends over at Crime Stoppers SA to bring you some important information that could help you…

Crime Stoppers South Australia chair, Ms Sharon Hanlon, said whether a scam is spyware that holds your computer hostage, dodgy online merchants, or heartless thieves praying on the elderly, lonely and vulnerable, the threat of online fraud is real.

“The key to combating online fraud is knowing what threats exist and then take a number of easy, proactive steps to beat the scammers and avoid becoming one of their victims,” Ms Hanlon said.

And the numbers have never been more sobering, with ACCC’s Scamwatch receiving almost 33,000 scam reports in 2017. In the same year, about 2,800 people lost more than $4.7 million to scammers last year.

People often fall victim to scams because they are too trusting of someone that they have never met. Some of the common stories you hear include:

  1. Someone being contacted to have their computer fixed and clicking a link that provides a thief direct access to their files
  2. A sob story about needing money to overcome a family tragedy that never happened
  3. The promise of a large sum of money won by a person in a lottery that they never entered, with a scammer asking for a large ‘admin fee’ to be sent to them to handle the paperwork costs

These are some of the more obvious ways that scammers can take advantage of people but they are also becoming more sophisticated, with more crimes being committed in the background without a victim being directly contacted.

Some examples of the more cunning scams include:

  1. A scammer intercepting an email with a legitimate invoice to a client, changing the bank details to their own and then sending the invoice on for payment
  2. A fake bill being sent from a seemingly trusted company or government department containing a link that steals your data and passwords

So, how do you avoid becoming a victim of one of these scams? Well, there are a few easy steps that you can take:

  1. If you are contacted by a government agency or business unexpectedly, always verify their identity through an independent source such as a phone book or online search
  2. Regularly check your transaction history and contact your financial institution if something seems out of the ordinary

Our CEO, Costa Anastasiou reiterates that, “One of the best ways to protect yourself from potential scams is to regularly go through your transactions and speak to your financial institution immediately if a transaction doesn’t seem right.”

“You can do this using online banking and banking apps. Good financial institutions will always proactively make contact with their members when they see something that could potentially be a scam, so put your trust in a financial institution that is genuinely interested in your banking security and has security measures, such as fingerprint access and security services, in place.”

We also take proactive measures to ensure the safety of your money – find out more here.

And for more tips on how you can protect yourself, head here.

National Scams Awareness Week runs between 21 – 25 May 2018.

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