**** BEWARE OF SCAMS ****

 

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A VICTIM OF A SCAM?

 

It is sometimes said that Seniors are easy targets for perpetrators of scams!

 

To avoid getting caught by a scam and be forewarned

go to 

http://www.accc.gov.au/publications/the-little-black-book-of-scams

and do your homework today!

 

Latest Scamwatch Tips

 

  • Do some independent research on a website you’re thinking of buying a product from and check out reviews from other consumers.
  • Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know or trust and never by email.
  • When making online payments, only pay for items using a secure payment service—look for a URL starting with ‘https’ and a closed padlock symbol, or a payment provider such as PayPal. Think twice before using virtual currencies such as bitcoin—they do not have the same protections as other transaction methods so you can’t get your money back once you send it.
  • When using retail websites, find out exactly who you are dealing with. If it is an Australian company, you are in a much better position to sort out the problem if something goes wrong. You can check ABNs at: http://abr.business.gov.au/
  • Check if the website site has a refund or returns policy, and that their policies sound fair. The better online shopping sites have detailed complaint or dispute handling processes in case something goes wrong.
  • Avoid clicking on pop-up ads that can download viruses, spyware, malware, and other unwanted software to your computer.

 

This Stay Smart Online Week, the ACCC is warning the community to watch out for common online scams they might encounter.

The online sphere – email, the internet, social media and mobile apps – has overtaken telephones as scammers’ preferred tool of the trade to contact potential victims. In 2017, the ACCC’s Scamwatch site has received more than 51,000 reports of scammers trying to con people online. Online scam losses total nearly $37 million so far in 2017, with people aged 45 to 54 most likely to lose money.

“It’s difficult to spot a scammer online these days as they  go to great lengths  to trick the public and steal personal information and money,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

The top three scams that people are most likely to encounter online are:

  • Phishing – often delivered via email, scammers will pretend to be from well-known businesses and government departments to con unsuspecting victims out of their personal information and money. For example they might say they’re from Apple and you need to reset your password for security reasons, or they may offer you a gift voucher to a major supermarket for completing a ‘survey’.
  • False billing – scammers will pretend to be from a utility provider such as your phone or energy company and send you a fake bill. These scams can be very hard to pick as the fake bills scammers send look authentic.
  • Buying and selling – scammers will trick people who are looking to buy or sell goods online. For example, they may set up a fake online store that sells well-known brands at seemingly too-good-to-be-true prices; or they may set up a fake listing on a classifieds website.

Ms Rickard said there are some simple techniques members of the public can employ to avoid being stung by a scammer online.

“While scammers are often after your money, they’re also trying to steal your personal information, which is just as valuable. It’s important to safeguard your personal details online the same way you would your wallet,” Ms Rickard said.

“If you’re ever contacted out of the blue, particularly via email, by someone asking you to pay a bill, complete a survey or update your passwords, it pays to be sceptical. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

“If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of something online like a store, classified listing or email you receive, do you own research as others who have been stung by scammers will often post warnings for others. There are also plenty of very useful tips and advice at www.scamwatch.gov.au to avoid being stung by online scams,” Ms Rickard said.

See more information about Stay Smart Online Week.

 


To stay one step ahead of scammers, learn more by visiting the ACCC’s Scamwatch website—
Protect yourself—sign up to Scamwatch

www.scamwatch.gov.au

—where you can sign up for free email alerts on new scams targeting consumers and small businesses. You can also follow Scamwatch on Twitter at @scamwatch_gov or http://twitter.com/scamwatch_gov.