“Scammers often try to take advantage of people during the busy Christmas period and prey on our vulnerabilities at this time of year. For example, they may take advantage of you looking for a good deal on a family holiday, searching for a loved one’s present at an online store, or even that you’re expecting a present from someone through the post.”
“Your personal information is often just as valuable to a scammer as your money so always be careful about the information you give out online,” Ms Rickard said.
“There are some simple tips you can follow to stay ahead of scammers these holidays.”
“If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Do your research on any online stores you’re using, especially if it’s for the first time. Never do a deal or make a payment outside the online auction site you are using. If you are buying from a classified website only hand over the money when you have physically inspected the goods. Finally, never open attachments or download files you receive out of the blue—no matter who the email comes from or how legitimate it looks,” Ms Rickard said.
Source: ScamWatch website (11 December 2017)
Scammers are sending emails pretending to be from Australia Post or FedEx, to try and trick you into believing you have an ‘undeliverable package’. In some cases, these emails may include your name and address and include legitimate-looking company information, complete with fake logos.
The email may threaten to charge you a fee for holding your ‘undelivered item’, and will ask you to open an attachment, click a link or download a file to retrieve your parcel. If you follow these instructions, you will likely download a ransomware virus that locks your computer.
To unlock your computer, scammers demand payment in the form of bitcoins (a form of online currency) or wire transfer. Even if you pay the fee, there is no guarantee that you will be able to access your computer again.
Australia Post will never call you out of the blue to request payment or send you an email asking you to click on an attachment.
If you receive an email about an un-deliverable package, don’t open any attachments or download files – delete it straight away!
Find out more at Scamwatch.gov.au
If you haven’t stopped and thought about how you keep your private information secure, chances are you could be leaving it wide open for scammers to use for fraudulent purposes. When scammers steal your details, they can use them for all sorts of identity crime such as making unauthorised purchases on your credit card, or using your identity to open accounts such as banking, telephone or energy services, take out loans or carry out other illegal business under your name.
These days scammers are after more than just financial information. All your personal details including photos, date of birth, home address, Tax File Number or driver’s license numbers are valuable to scammers – these are your unique identification records that are often used to verify who you are.
A determined scammer will use a number of sneaky methods to steal your information. Scammers have been known to pay people to rummage through rubbish dumps looking for bills or bank statements, or to simply steal mail directly from people’s letterboxes. They also use the internet to search through public listings, social media profiles and even blog comments to piece together your details.
On a more sophisticated level, scammers create fake websites, fake online surveys and fake competitions with enticing prizes to ‘phish’ for your information. They also send official-looking emails or telephone you directly, pretending to be from a trusted source such as your bank, telecommunications provider, a government department or even a charity organisation, asking for your details.
You may not know you have had your identity stolen until you check your bank account, or find out that your credit rating has changed.
Having your identity stolen can be both financially and emotionally devastating. It can take months to reclaim your identity, and the impact of having it stolen can last for years. National Consumer Fraud Week 2015 is all about learning how to keep your personal data safe from scammers, and prevent identity theft from happening to you.
To leave scammers out in the cold, follow SCAMwatch’s Top 6 Protect Yourself tips:
If you think your banking details have been compromised, you should contact your bank or credit union immediately to let them know. If you think your identity information has been stolen, you should contact iDcare – a free government‑industry service which works with you to develop specific response plans to your situation to reduce risk and impact.
Visit the SCAMwatch website to find out more about the various forms of identity theft, how to protect yourself and what to do if you’ve been scammed. You can also follow SCAMwatch on Twitter or subscribe to SCAMwatch Radars .
National Consumer Fraud Week 2015
An initiative of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce
Tweed Valley Nighbourhood Watch Inc. is a Member/Partner of the Taskforce and urges you to protect yourself against scams.
Last Saturday, 21 June 2014, Tweed Valley Neighbourhood Watch groups carried out an Information Day Kiosk at Tweed City Shopping Centre.
A lot of interest was shown by the public and several NHW volunteers were on hand to talk to to the shoppers, hand out safety tip brochures and discuss with passer-bys how best to protect themselves, their homes and their local neighbourhoods.
Neighbourhood Watch Australasia kindly provided UV Security marking Pens for people to mark their valuables, caps, informational brochures and other safety material which were all very popular on the day.
The day was a great success and we are planning another Information Day Kiosk soon.
Special thanks to Tweed City Shopping Centre management for providing us the floor space to get the importance of safety and security out to the general public.