Scam Awareness – Stop and check: is this for real?
You should ALWAYS be wary of ANY unsolicited offer that appears in your email or browser screen – but today’s ACCC media release announcing Australians lost $340 million to scammers in 2017 is a timely reminder for all internet users to be on the lookout for scams – particularly ‘Impersonation Scans’
How these scams work
Scammers may pretend to be from a government agency, a well-known company like an energy or telecommunications provider, Australia Post, a bank or 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.
Tips to protect yourself
- If you’re contacted unexpectedly and threatened by someone who says they’re from a government agency or trusted business, always consider the possibility that it may be a scam – then stop and check if it’s for real.
- Don’t be pressured by a threatening caller and don’t respond to threatening emails or voicemail messages asking you to call someone back. If you do, the scammers may increase their intimidation and attempts to get your money.
- If you’re unsure whether a call or email is genuine, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source, such as a phone book or online search, then get in touch with them to ask if they contacted you. Don’t use the contact details provided by the caller or in the message they sent to you.
- If you’re still unsure, speak to a family member or friend about what’s happened.
- Never give money, bank account or credit card details or other personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust – and never by email or over the phone.
- A government agency or trusted business will never ask you to pay by unusual methods such as with gift or store cards, iTunes cards, wire transfers or bitcoin.
- Don’t open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or emails and don’t click on links or open attachments – just delete them.
- Never give anyone remote access to your computer if you’re contacted out of the blue – whether through a phone call, pop up window or email – and even if they claim to be from a well-known company like Telstra.