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Scams Awareness – How to Protect Yourself

How to protect yourself

Here are some tips to protect yourself from scams:

  • Be alert to scams – If you’ve been contacted out of the blue by an unknown person, even if they’re claiming to be from the government or a trusted business, always consider the possibility that it may be a scam.
  • Don’t be pressured by a threatening caller or email, or feel pressured to act quickly – remember to take your time and never rush a decision or action. If you’re unsure, speak to a
    trusted friend or family member about what has happened.
  • Know who you’re dealing with – If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure if the business is genuine, do your research. Do a Google image search on photos or search the internet for reviews. If a message or email comes from a friend and it seems unusual or out of character for them, contact your friend directly using you contact details unrelated to the  mail to check that it was really them that sent it.
  • Use strong passwords by creating hard-to-guess passphrases that are memorable to you. Do this for all of your devices, including your Wi-Fi. You can use a password safe app so you can keep track of them.
  • Don’t open anything that looks suspicious including texts, pop-up windows, or links and attachments in emails – if unsure, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Don’t use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.
  • Don’t allow anyone remote access to your computer unless you contacted them for a real problem you know about – even if they claim to be from a well-known company such as Telstra. Scammers will often ask you to turn on your computer to fix a problem or install a free upgrade, which is actually a virus that will give them your passwords and personal details.
  • Don’t be pressured into making decisions about your money or investments – Do your own research on an investment company and check out www.moneysmart.gov.au to see if they have an Australian Financial Services Licence.
  • Be wary of unusual payment requests – Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, including preloaded debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers or cryptocurrencies.
  • Don’t send money or give bank or personal details to anyone you don’t know or trust – Also never agree to transfer money or goods for someone else: money laundering is a criminal
    offence.
  • Beware of emails requesting changes to payment details. Always verify changes to payment details directly with the business or individual using contact details you hold separate to the email.
  • Keep your personal details secure – Put a lock on your mailbox and shred important documents before throwing them out. Keep your passwords safe and avoid sharing personal information on social media sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to steal your identity or to target you with a scam.
  • Keep your mobile devices and computers secure – Use password protection, strong passwords, update your security software and back up your content. Protect your Wi-Fi network with a password and avoid using public computers for things like online banking or activities where you are transmitting personal and financial details.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi – particularly when doing online banking or sending or receiving personal information.
  • Be careful when shopping online – Beware of offers that seem too good to be true, and always use an online shopping service that you know and trust. Use secure payment methods
    such as credit card or PayPal.

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Further information and reading

Source: Information is provided by Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

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