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Scams Awareness Week 2023: Protecting Yourself in the Digital Age

You might have heard about the global Scams Awareness Week campaign, a crucial initiative that aims to empower consumers with the knowledge to spot and avoid scams. In a world filled with various avenues for scam activity, safeguarding your data has never been more important.

To aid you in spotting scams with ease, the ACCC has released a series of short educational videos featuring simple and practical tips to help you identify and protect yourself. In this blog, we’ll delve into some of the most common online scams and how you can steer clear of them. Let’s get started!

Top 10 Online Scam Categories
Investment Scams: Crypto, Ponzi schemes, and imposter bonds are some of the most prevalent investment scams. Crypto, in particular, can be challenging to track, leaving investors with little chance of recovering their funds.
Dating & Romance Scams: Scammers create fake dating profiles on social media, dating websites, or apps, targeting vulnerable individuals and gradually gaining their trust before asking for increasing amounts of money.
False Billing: Scammers set up counterfeit websites or profiles on legitimate retailer sites or business sites, offering products or services at unbelievably low prices. They may then send fake bills or alter invoice payee details to deceive you.
Phishing: Often disguised as text messages, scammers attempt to trick you into clicking on links or providing personal information. Never fall for these tricks; always exercise caution.
Remote Access Scams: Beware of calls from individuals claiming to be your telco provider or broadband provider, requesting access to your mobile or computer along with your passwords. These calls are likely scams.
Threats & Extortion Scams: Scammers pose as representatives of organisations and demand immediate payment, threatening arrest, deportation, or even physical harm. Don’t be intimidated; verify the claims before taking any action.
Identity Theft: With a growing number of victims every year, identity theft is a significant threat in Australia. Be cautious about sharing sensitive details and personal information.
Job & Employment Scams: Scammers impersonate reputable companies or well-known recruitment agencies to steal money and identity details from job seekers.
Online Shopping Scams: Exercise caution when shopping online, especially if the deals seem too good to be true. Always do your research before making a purchase.
Pyramid Schemes: These illegal and risky ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes can cost you a fortune. Be wary of anyone recruiting members through seminars, home meetings, phone calls, emails, posts, or social media.

With recent large-scale data breaches, millions of Australians are now more vulnerable to scams than ever before. Scams Awareness Week is a crucial campaign that equips consumers with the skills to recognise and block scammers.

What to Do if You Suspect a Scam
If you suspect that you’ve been targeted by a scammer, follow this simple checklist:

⦁ Refrain from giving personal details or money to the scammer.
⦁ If the scammer impersonates an Australian business, contact the actual business immediately.
⦁ If you’ve clicked on a suspicious link or installed software, run antivirus software to check for any malicious content.
⦁ Notify your financial institution immediately and consider stopping or cancelling affected accounts.
⦁ Inform your financial institution of any debited amounts and the dates of the transactions.
⦁ If your personal information may have been compromised, report the incident through ⦁ ReportCyber and contact the ⦁ ATO.
⦁ Change all your passwords for accounts containing personal information, such as MyGov, ATO, Superannuation, and banking.

Beware of Follow-Up Scams
Once you’ve been caught in a scam, scammers may attempt follow-up scams. Be vigilant and avoid falling for tricks like:

⦁ Swapping your investment for another to recover losses.
⦁ False promises that your investment will increase in value soon.
⦁ Paying a fee to have restrictions on your shares lifted.
⦁ Paying for a fake share certificate.
⦁ Scammers claiming they can recover your losses for a fee disguised as a ‘tax,’ ‘deposit,’ ‘retainer,’ or ‘refundable insurance bond.’
⦁ Being asked to cover travel and accommodation costs to catch the scammer who took your money.

These are all tactics scammers use to extort more money from victims. As part of the Scams Awareness Week campaign, the government monitors consumers who have been targeted to detect any new or ongoing scams.

Creating Secure Passwords
In today’s digital landscape, creating secure passwords can be challenging. Follow these tips for peace of mind:
⦁ Make your passwords at least 12 characters long.
⦁ By using a combination of numbers, symbols and uppercase and lowercase letters, it will ensure your password is secure.
⦁ Avoid using words found in dictionaries or the names of people, characters, products, or businesses.
⦁ Consider using a password manager like Google to securely store and access your unique passwords.
⦁ Add a recovery email to your Google account so you’ll be alerted in case your passwords are compromised.

If you suspect that you’ve been targeted by an online or telephone scam, don’t hesitate to contact ReportCyber promptly. Each year, Scams Awareness Week provides the general public with valuable information about any new scams and how to protect themselves.

If you’re looking for a secure internet plan, reach out to our friendly team at 1300 001 958 or email to compare broadband plans today. Stay safe and scam-free in the digital world!