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Online scams

From spyware to dodgy online merchants, the threat of online fraud is real – and you are the best line of defence.

Types of online scams include:

Internet banking fraud – committed using online technology to illegally remove money from, or transfer it to, a different bank account. Types of internet banking fraud include phishing and mule recruitment, and can happen through a smartphone, tablet and other mobile devices.

Phishing – involves a form of spam to fraudulently gain access to people’s internet banking details, and usually are made to appear as having come from a bank and encourage unsuspecting victims to provide their personal banking details. Typically, a phishing email has a link, which when clicked will download a program that captures keyboard strokes – including login details – and sends them to a third party.

Shopping and auction site fraud – is where a person is tricked into not using a secure payment service because of advice from a seller. This can involve being sent purported links to banking services in an email, which actually leads to fraudulent sites or prompting the download of a ‘Trojan’ virus or ‘key logging’ program.

Spam – unsolicited commercial messages sent via email, SMS, MMS and other, similar electronic messaging media which try and persuade someone to buy a product or service or visit a website to make a purchase. They can also trick you into divulging bank account or credit card details.

Investment scams – People should seek independent advice from professionals before sending funds offshore to overseas investments and undertake due diligence.

The key to combating online fraud is knowing what threats exist and taking easy steps to beat them.

How can you beat the scammers?

There are a number of things you can do to prevent becoming a victim:

  • Keep current with your software and virus protection
  • Create strong passwords
  • Ignore emails from senders you don’t know
  • Use your pop-up blocker
  • Download files only from sites or persons that you know and trust
  • Sign up for email/SMS “transaction alerts” from your bank to keep track of your purchases
  • Make sure your financial institution has your up-to-date contact details
  • If you’ve sent money or shared your banking or credit card details, contact your financial institution immediately – it may be able to stop or reverse a transaction or close your account.