Data from the ACCC has revealed that Australians lost over $2 billion to scams in 2021, and that number is set to rise. As scams get more and more advanced, we need to take extra precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones from fraudulent activity. Here are 10 tips for protecting yourself and your family from scams.
1. Be extra diligent about all non-verbal communications
Impersonation scams continue to get more and more advanced, particularly in business email compromise scams. When a company server is hacked, fraudulent emails may be sent directly from legitimate email addresses of people within the company, often instructing people to execute financial transactions immediately. If you receive any non-verbal communication from anyone regarding transferring money or making payments urgently, verify the request with someone before taking any other action.
2. If something sounds strange, trust your instincts
If anything feels unusual, trust your instincts. Maybe you’ve received a text from a friend asking for money when they’ve never done that before. Perhaps someone on Facebook Marketplace wants you to email them instead of communicating through Messenger. Strange behaviour can be strongly indicative of a scam, so trust your instincts.
3. Don’t click links in text messages or emails if you suspect they’re fraudulent
Links in text messages and emails are a popular way for scammers to capture your personal information. Often, they do this by sending a worrying message prompting urgent action to get you to click without thinking. Be extra cautious with links and don’t click anything without investigating first. Contact the sender directly on a number you trust, to be sure.
4. Verify the identities of people who contact you
Scammers are getting smarter and smarter when it comes to convincing you that you’re speaking with someone you trust. Some scammers use email addresses that look almost identical to the real address. They may even replicate the language of a loved one to appear more legitimate. If someone you know contacts you asking for money, try and speak to them directly over the phone to confirm it’s a legitimate request.
5. Research companies you’re buying from extensively
When shopping online, be cautious of websites you’re unfamiliar with. Look for websites that start with https and are accompanied by a padlock symbol straight away. Unsecured connection warnings are a sign something isn’t right – but they’re not always 100% accurate, so do additional research before handing over your payment details. Read reviews online, look for an about page, and check if they have a registered address or contact information.
6. Be careful of things that sound too good to be true
Rock bottom prices are a popular way for scammers to attract vulnerable victims – if something sounds too good to be true, it often is. Check Scamwatch for updates on new scams, and see if the company or vendor is listed as fraudulent.
7. Beware of urgency when buying things online
Lots of sale scams rely on urgency to target victims. Anything from Facebook Marketplace listings to adverts for puppy adoption. Scammers often use elaborate stories to convince you to make payment quickly, often without seeing the item you’re buying. Never make payments to people who are rushing you, particularly if anything seems unusual about the transaction.
8. Never respond to instructions to install software on your computer
Remote access scammers may try to convince you to install software on your device. This is so they can control your devices from a remote location, and access sensitive information that could be used to access accounts in your name. Never install software under the instruction of someone you don’t know or trust.
9. Never give out personal information to people who call you
Scammers will often impersonate your bank or a government organisation and request personal information over the phone. This can then be used to access accounts and impersonate your identity for fraudulent purposes. To be safe, don’t give out information on incoming phone calls. Hang up and contact the bank or organisation on a number you trust.
10. Never give out financial information or make payments and transfers on social media
Crypto and investment scammers are gaining traction on social media by impersonating people you know and follow. If you’ve received a social media message from someone you know or a public figure you admire, don’t hand over any personal information or payments until you’ve verified their identity.
What to do if you think you’ve been scammed
For the latest scam alerts and information to keep yourself and your family safe online, visit https://www.bendigobank.com.au/security/scams/alerts/
Things to remember
- Bendigo Bank will never request personal information such as a pin or password or ask you to login to online services from an email or SMS.
- Never provide your 6-digit e-banking security code to anyone over the phone or online.
- Bendigo Bank will never ask you to click on a link in an SMS text message to login to e-banking or request remote access to your PC or device.