Technology, it makes our lives simpler with ever-advancing, smarter access to our bank accounts and social media. Our lives are online, and the fraudsters know it. They are keeping up with technology and it’s up to organisations and ourselves to keep one step ahead of them to avoid falling victim.
Alman Partners recently had the privilege of listening to one of Macquarie’s Fraud Team Specialists on Fraud Awareness. We wanted to share some helpful information so you may avoid a scam.
In 2016 Australians lost close to $300 million through scams, with 45% of reports coming from those over 55. A considerable portion of these were via phone or email contact. However, social media scams tripled from 2015 to $9.5 million in 2016.1
We’ve all had that phone call from “Microsoft” stating that your computer is infected and they need access to correct it. A classic example of a phishing scam. They put you in a worrying situation and offer to fix it for you. Unknowing victims often provide information and remote access to computers without realising it is a scam. Some of these fraudsters appear genuine and even caring. However, there are a few things that can give them away.
- If you are ever unsure if the caller is genuine, hang up and call back yourself after a few minutes on the phone number that you have located.
- Some call centres offer passwords as proof of identity. Macquarie is now providing this for our clients as an extra security measure. Contact Macquarie on 1800 025 063 if you would like to set this up.
- If you receive an email from an unknown sender with an attachment, delete the email without opening the attachment. If it’s genuine, they will make contact another way.
- Some emails may look genuine, but there are often spelling errors and other tell-tale signs of phishing, such as the sender requesting money or poor image quality.
- Limit what you post on social media, including birth dates, middle names, and employment history. You would be amazed at what can be obtained by researching someone’s Facebook page.
- Check your privacy settings and ensure your computer has all updates installed.
- When paying for goods/services via a retailer’s website, check the web address starts with https and a closed padlock symbol. This means that the site is secure.
- Be wary of requests or pop-ups for downloading files.
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. “You are the long-lost relative of a Nigerian prince, and you must send $xxx to claim your inheritance.”
- When at the ATM, cover your PIN from above. Corrupted machines can scan your card when you insert it and they often use a pinhole-sized camera above the keypad to record your PIN.
- Never send money or provide personal details to someone unknown to you. Genuine businesses and government organisations will not request funds in the form of Bitcoin or gift cards.
- Organisations such as Macquarie will not ask for information such as a Driver’s Licence/Passport Number or Tax File Number to verify your identity.
From dodgy-looking emails to scanning your credit card at a corrupted ATM, fraudsters are always looking for a way to access your information. But with careful consideration, you should be able to avoid being caught out.
Here are some helpful websites that may be of interest:
Scamwatch: ACCC site on the types of scams and how to report them.
ACCC – Little Black Book of Scams: A helpful book from ACCC on warning signs, common scams and how to protect yourself.
My Credit Life: Check your credit rating for free. A great tool if you suspect your information has been accessed or as a general check on your credit rating.
Macquarie Fraud: 12 scams you should be aware of.
Kerri Wallace, Project Officer, Alman Partners Pty Ltd, Australian Financial Services Licence No: 222107.
Note: This material is provided for information only. No account has been taken of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person or entity. Accordingly, to the extent that this material may constitute general financial product advice, investors should, before acting on the advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to the investor’s objectives, financial situation and needs. This is not an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities or other financial products, nor a solicitation for deposits or other business, whether directly or indirectly.