In 2021, Australians suffered combined losses of over $2 billion to scams. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch found that scammers are “relentlessly targeting Australians”, and in 2022 that number could reach $4 billion.
With a spate of high-profile large-scale data breaches, including Optus and Medibank, millions more Australians are now even more vulnerable.
ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard states: “Scammers evolve quickly, and their tactics are becoming increasingly sophisticated and unscrupulous. There have been hundreds of reports to Scamwatch in the weeks after the recent high-profile data breaches, and that is expected to continue”
What Can You Do?
By far the best thing you can do to avoid getting stung is to Educate yourself. The Scamwatch Website has a plethora of information about commons scams and popular scams that are circulating at the moment.
Take some time to visit the site and learn a little more about the common methods used to detect and prevent scams.
Here are Scamwatch’s Top tips for avoiding scams
Take your time before giving money or personal information to anyone.
Scammers will offer to help you or ask you to verify who you are. They will pretend to be from organisations you know and trust like a business you deal with, police, government or fraud service.
Ask yourself could the message or call be fake?
Never click a link in a message and ask a trusted friend or family member what they would do. Only contact businesses or government using contact information from their official website or through their secure apps. If you’re not sure say no, hang up or delete.
Act quickly if something feels wrong.
Contact your bank immediately if you lose money or personal information or if you notice some unusual activity on you cards or accounts. Seek help from organisations like IDCARE and report online crime to ReportCyber. Help others by reporting scams to Scamwatch.
How to protect yourself today:
Make your accounts as safe as your home. Set up extra steps on your accounts to stop people getting in.
Add more steps to show who you are when you log into your online services and apps. This is called Multi Factor Authentication.
This could be a code sent to your phone, a token or secret question. Your face or fingerprint or voice can also be the key to let you into your accounts.
Ask your banks and service providers how to add more checks so no one can pretend to be you. And don’t forget to tell them if you have been in a data breach.