Just as the internet continues to surprise us every day, so too does the sophistication of online scams.
It’s good to stay in the know with the cyber dark arts so you can quickly spot areas of concern.
Here are some tips on how to avoid online scams.
The first place to start is right under your nose. Spyware and Malware can snoop on your internet activities on your phone and computer.
Here’s what you can do to protect your computer:
Phishing is where criminals attempt to get your personal details. This could include things like bank account numbers, credit card numbers and most importantly your passwords.
Normally the scammer portrays themselves as a trustworthy and genuine source through an email or text.
Phishing messages are designed to look genuine and will copy the format used by the organisation that the scammer is pretending to be.
Do not click on any phishing communication, or any attachments or links contained within that communication.
This is a scam where your charge card numbers are stolen, often through card processing gadgets. For example, a device might be placed over the top of the card reader at an ATM to try and record your account numbers.
Naturally, you should immediately contact your bank if you suspect there is something unusual going on, but it’s better to avoid the problem by making it harder for criminals to steal your information.
If you think that you’ve been skimmed, call the ATM’s bank and your bank straight away.
“Porting” happens when someone steals your personal information to transfer your mobile phone number to them without your knowledge or consent.
This can happen by the scammer:
Once transferred, your stolen mobile phone number can be used to receive SMS verification codes and allowing that person to access your personal services, such as your bank, email and social media accounts.
You’ll know your phone number has been ported if you unexpectedly lose phone reception or coverage (you’re unable to make or receive calls or messages) and your phone goes to ‘SOS only’ when everyone else has reception bars.
Noting that scammers still need your personal information to port your phone (including your full name, mobile phone number, date of birth and answers to security questions), you should be extra careful with your personal information online.
Some handy tips to prevent porting are below:
Sometimes a scam will start with a phone call you didn’t ask for from a person or company you don’t know.
Some examples of unsolicited phone scams are:
If in doubt, call the company’s general line phone number advertised on their official website to confirm they called you.
However, be wary that if you’ve never heard of the company before, the website may be set up to make the scam more credible.
If you’d like more information about what to do if you fall victim to a scam, head to Scamwatch. They have some fantastic resources, and will guide you on how to handle the situation.