13 December, 2017 | Safety and Security
The ACCC is warning the community to be wary of scammers trying to ruin their Christmas holidays.
“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.”
Watch out for three common holiday season scams:
- Travel scams: scammers trick their victims into believing they’ve won a travel prize or scored a really good deal on a travel package, like a cruise. Unfortunately these seemingly too-good-to-be-true holidays are nothing more than a scammer’s con. In the past 12 months, nearly $86,000 has been lost to this scam, with about 1750 reports.
- Online shopping scams: scammers will set up believable looking online stores to trick people into goods that don’t really exist. They might also set up fake online classified or auction site listings. They entice people with legitimate looking discounts and may even advertise items as the perfect Christmas present for a loved one. This scam has cost Australians more than $1.3 million in the past 12 months, with more than 6440 reports.
- Parcel delivery scams: with millions of packages moving across the country to get under a Christmas tree in time, scammers will send fake ‘missed delivery’ notices to potential victims. These scams are aimed at getting people to download malware or ransomware onto their PCs, which can be costly to remove; or steal their personal information. Scamwatch has received about 1700 reports of this scam in the past 12 months.
“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.
Follow @scamwatch_gov on Twitter and subscribe to Scamwatch radar alerts to get up-to-date warnings.
Source: ScamWatch website (11 December 2017)
12 December, 2016 | National News
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Watch out for fake parcel delivery scams this Christmas
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
18 May, 2015 | National News, Safety and Security
National Consumer Fraud Week 18 – 24 May 2015
An Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce initiative
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:
- Keep your personal details secure: Your postal mail and your online presence are the first place a scammer will look to piece together your details. Lock your mailbox, and shred your bills and other important documents before throwing out. Be careful sharing information about yourself online, including social media, blogs and other online forums.
- Think twice about what you say and do in an online environment: Whilst there are times when your personal details are required for legitimate reasons, such as signing up to a new service or buying something, always check that the person or organisation is who they say they are. Stop and think before filling in surveys, entering competitions, clicking on links or attachments, or even ‘befriending’, ‘liking’ or ‘sharing’ something.
- Keep your mobile devices and computers secure: These are a treasure trove of personal information for scammers. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to a scammer – always use password protection, don’t share access with others (including remotely), update security software and back up content. Protect your Wi-Fi network with a password and avoid using public computers or Wi-Fi hotspots to access online banking or provide personal information.
- Choose your passwords carefully: Passwords are often the only barrier between scammers and your valuable information. Set and use strong passwords which are difficult to guess, and change them regularly. A strong password should include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for every account/profile, and don’t share your passwords with anyone.
- Beware of any request for your details or money: Scammers will try to trick you into handing over your data by using the names of well-known companies or government departments. If you think it’s a scam, DON’T RESPOND. Use the phone book or an online search to check the organisation’s contact details. NEVER use the contact details provided in the original request.
- Get a copy of your credit report: Your credit report contains information on your credit history. You can get a free copy of your report every year to check that no-one is using your name to borrow money or run up debts. Find out how to get your free credit report on ASIC’s MoneySmart
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 .
Get smarter with your data
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.
24 June, 2014 | Local Events
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.
17 June, 2013 | Safety and Security
National Consumer Fraud Week 2013
Australian consumers are increasingly going online to buy goods and services, taking advantage of the speed, convenience and greater choice that the internet can offer. Unfortunately scammers like shopping online for their victims too.
Scammers are increasingly sophisticated in how they deliver scams, taking advantage of new technologies and communication methods to try and slip under your radar. Scammers exploit the anonymous nature of the web to target Australians buying and selling online.
National Consumer Fraud Week 2013 is all about helping Australians to ‘outsmart the scammers’ by staying one click ahead!
Online shopping scams target both buyers and sellers, with the two most common scams being:
Classified ad scams – a scammer posts a fake ad on a legitimate classifieds website for cheaply priced popular items. If a consumer shows interest in an item, the scammer will claim that the goods will be delivered following receipt of payment. If the consumer pays, they will not receive the goods or be able to contact the seller.
Overpayment scams – a scammer will respond to a seller’s ad with a generous offer and will then ‘accidentally’ overpay. The scammer will ask the seller to refund the excess amount by money transfer in hope that the seller will transfer the money before they discover that the scammer’s cheque has bounced or that the money order was phony. The seller will lose the money, as well as the item they were selling, if they have already sent it on to the scammer.
Stay one click ahead of the scammers – visit the SCAMwatch website to find out more about how scams work, how to protect yourself and what to do if you’ve been scammed.
Fill out the 2013 scam survey & help in the fight against scams!