Over 157,000 reports were made in 2019 to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) of scams costing nearly $130 million dollars. Those over the age of 55 seem to be the hardest hit so what can you do to keep your money safe and your identity protected? Continue reading for some top tips from our Benefits+ partner IT 4 Retirees.
First of all, don’t take it personally – the scammer at the other end of the phone, email or text has absolutely no idea who you are or where you live. You are simply an email address or phone number to them. These unscrupulous people are hoping to:
- Trick you into paying them money or providing personal details that can be used fraudulently
- Transfer some kind of malware or virus to your computer in the hope of extorting money
Regardless of how official an email or a text message looks, or how vital a phone call sounds, it is important to note that a legitimate organisation will never ask you to:
- Pay money before you can receive a refund or payment
- Pay a debt using iTunes vouchers, gift cards or pre-paid credit cards
- Provide personal information via email or SMS
- Pay money into a personal bank account
- Download files or open attachments in unsolicited emails
If you are not sure if the email, text message or phone call is legitimate, contact the organisation direct for confirmation.
5 ways to stay safe
Scammers are clever and if you don’t know what to look for, anyone can fall victim to a scam. As such, the best way to protect yourself is through awareness and education.
Update your devices
Ensure the software & apps on your smartphones, tablets & computers are up-to-date.
Install a comprehensive anti-virus system.
2. Use 2-factor authentication
Highly recommended for those that pay bills online as you need to provide 2 devices (ie. smartphone & computer) to authenticate the transaction.
3. Be smart with passwords
Avoid easy to guess words or number codes such as Password or 0000.
Use a different password for online banking.
Install a Password Manager.
4. Limit what is shared via Social Media
Check your privacy settings in every social media app used such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn etc.
Do not accept Friend Requests from people you do not know.
Do not provide dates or timeframes of your holiday travels.
5. Backup your data
It is imperative that your data on any smartphone, tablet or computer is backed up to another location/device that is external to the device itself. For example, an external hard drive or a cloud-based solution such as iCloud, iTunes, OneDrive, DropBox, Google Drive etc to ensure your valuable information stays safe.
If you have any questions about scams or need some help with your devices, please call Christine David of IT 4 Retirees Pty Ltd on 0401-017-459 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Her team of trainers are skilled on all types of computers, mobile phones and tablets and come to your home to help you master the things that are important to you.
This article was written by Christine David from It 4 Retirees and the opinions expressed are those of the author.