Over the recent years, scammers have been getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to steal your money or personal details. Over the last year, we have had several clients contact us about a scam or theft of personal information.
We have prepared this article to alert and help protect you and your family from potentially being scammed.
Tips to help you from being scammed.
Look out for any suspicious or unexpected activity across your online accounts, including your telecommunications, bank, health insurance and utilities accounts. Make sure you report any suspicious activity in your bank account immediately to your financial institution.
STOP Don’t give money or personal information to anyone if unsure.
- If someone calls claiming to be from Optus, Medibank Private, Latitude Financial, police, bank or another organisation and offers to help you with the data breach, consider hanging up and contacting the organisation on its official contact details. This can be a scammer calling using your personal information.
- If you receive an email or invoice for payment saying that the bank details have changed or that you owe money, independently verify the caller using details you have sourced yourself – rather than using any phone numbers or links provided in the correspondence.
THINK Don’t click on links or respond to callers before you know it’s real.
- Do not click on any links in any email or SMS claiming to be from third parties especially Optus and Medibank Private or from unknown or suspicious numbers (especially if they are generic, ie Hi Mum)
PROTECT Act quick. Call your bank to secure your accounts. Seek help and report scams.
- Don’t share your password- Never click on any links that look suspicious and never provide your passwords, your bank’s one time pins, or any personal or financial information
- Regularly update your passwords with ‘strong’ passwords, not re-using passwords and activating multi-factor authentication on any online accounts, where available.
- Don’t give anyone access to your computer- If people call posing as a credible organisation and request access to your computer, always say no.
- Report it- If you believe you are a victim of Cybercrime, report it to Australia Cyber Security Centre (ReportCyber) at cyber.gov.au.
What are some of the recent scams and data breaches?
There are several scams circulating at the moment, and a website called ScamWatch has been launched by the Federal Government to help inform the public of what to look out for. Here are some of the most recent scams.
- Fake online deals and offers: Online shopping scams especially around Christmas, Boxing Day and midyear sales are events to watch out for. Online shopping scammers create realistic looking fake online stores selling items at heavily discounted prices; however the items are fake, or never delivered to buyers. Always research the seller by checking real reviews and ensure when paying online that the real payment portal (ie PayPal) is used.
- Hi Mum Scam: The scammer posing as a family member or friend will claim they have lost or damaged their phone and are making contact from a new number. Then, once they have developed a rapport with their target, the scammer will ask for personal information such as photos for their social media profile or money to help urgently pay a bill, contractor or replace the phone.
- Imposter bond scams: Imposter bond scams are usually impersonating real financial companies or banks and claim to offer government/Treasury bonds or fixed term deposits. Individuals often fall victim to them after searching online for investment opportunities and completing enquiry forms via fake third-party comparison sites.
- Agriculture scam: Scammers luring farmers and rural businesses with seemingly good online deals on tractors and other farm machinery through fake websites or bogus classifieds on legitimate platforms and publications.
- Smith Family breach: The Smith Family, in November 2022, announced that 80,000 donors may have had their personal details accessed. Their investigation revealed a combination of names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and donation records may have been accessed.
- Medibank Private breach: In October 2022, Medibank Private had 200GB of data stolen including the names and addresses, date of birth, Medicare numbers, policy numbers, phone numbers and some claims data.
- Optus data breach: In September 2022, Optus became the victim of a cyber-attack that resulted in the disclosure of their customers’ personal information such as name, date of birth, email addresses, driver’s licences, Medicare card and passport numbers etc.
By staying informed and implementing these precautionary measures, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to scams and safeguard your financial and personal information. Together, let’s stay one step ahead of the scammers and keep our identities and finances secure.
For more information on what to do if your information was exposed in a data breach, read the next article in our Cyber Security education series.