Watch out for financial scams
Scams targeting consumers are on the rise and fraudsters are becoming increasingly smarter, promising big rewards and easy ways to make money fast. Following is a summary of some of the most common scams currently in use:
Vishing: ‘Vishing' describes the newest techniques being used by criminals to target your member secure details by telephone. Vishing is similar to Phishing with the difference being technology such as automated call dialling and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) used to target account holders and steal information.
Scam #1 - 'compromised credit card account'
In this email scam, the scammer asks consumers to call a phone number or click on a link due to a compromised credit card account. The email might claim to be from a credit union, bank or other financial institution and will read something like this to unusual levels of fraud we have had to suspend any future authorisations being conducted with your Visa Card. If you want this restriction to be removed from your account please call us. Call (a phone number) to have this restriction removed. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.'
Scam #2 - 'your card must be re-activated'
This scam claims that the member’s personal identification number (PIN) was entered incorrectly three times, therefore the card had to be deactivated. The email then asks for the completion of an authentication form or for a phone call to be made to a number provided in order to activate the card. The email reads something like this:
‘Credit Union Member, The personal identification number (PIN) was entered incorrectly more than three times. For your protection we have deactivated your card. To reactivate your card, please complete the authentication form or call (a phone number). Credit Union Customer Service'
When you call that number, unfortunately, you're actually speaking to fraudster or the criminal on the other side, who then can get additional information and steal your identity.
Scam #3 - 'update your account information'
You get a phone call from someone asking you to 'update your account information'. To protect yourself from this type of scam, use some of the same techniques you’d use to avoid other phishing scams. Don’t give information to anybody unless you are certain you know whom you’re dealing with. If you get a phone call about one of your accounts, hang up and call the institution. Dial the number that appears on the back of your credit card or on your statements. Then, you know you’re in the right place and they can take care of any issues on your account. The bad guys use Internet telephone services to disguise where they really are and where you're really calling. So they can be in Russia for example, and get a local area code phone number in (say) Australia relatively quickly. Hang up on a caller who asks for your account details.
Phishing emails: Phishing emails are fake emails usually pretending to be from banks or other financial institutions. They make up some reason for you to give your account details and then use these details to steal your money.
‘Nigerian’ scams: Called Nigerian scams because that is where they originated, these scams can come from any country. Someone asks you for help to transfer money out of their country by paying fees or giving them your bank account details.
Pay first scams: You are asked to send money upfront for a product or reward – and you end up with something much less than you expected, or nothing at all.
Cheque overpayments: You are sent a cheque for something you have sold, but it is for more than the agreed amount. The scammers hope you will refund the extra money before you notice that their cheque has bounced.
Charity scams: With these scams, people take advantage of other people’s generosity and kindness by asking for donations to a fake charity, or impersonating a real charity.
Tax refund scam: You are invited to complete an online form to claim a bogus tax refund. Scammers are using the end of the financial year as a perfect opportunity to target consumers. This scam often has ‘Tax Refund Online’ in the subject heading and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) logo.
Don’t be fooled – remember!
Do not disclose personal details, such as your name, credit card number or tax file number over the phone or via email
Never reply to any unsolicited emails claiming to be from the ATO
Do not reply or open any attachments to unsolicited emails
Contact us at Police Credit or report scams to SCAMwatch at www.scamwatch.gov.au. More information about scams can be found at www.fido.asic.gov.au or the SCAMwatch website.
Other forms of scams
While internet services such as online shopping and banking are convenient, there are some risks involved. The following information may help you to make sure you are protected when you are online:
“In-session” phishing is a variant of the Zeus Trojan. It works by tricking the user into entering personal details or Internet Banking login details by injecting a false webpage purporting to be from the financial institution while the user is online. More information
Security software is usually sold in suites that offer more than one function, such as anti-virus or firewall. You should always use security software suites that offer you maximum protection – anti-virus software alone will not secure your online activities.
Anti-virus software stops malicious software infecting your computer. It is fairly easy to install and maintain. Make sure that you enable automatic download of updates so that your software is always current.
A desktop firewall allows you to control the access other computers have to your computer. It also controls how applications on your computer gain access to other networks. Desktop firewalls can sometimes be difficult to configure correctly, so you should ask your vendor for instructions.
Anti-adware/Anti-spyware: Beware of malicious software like Adware and Spyware. Adware often redirects your browser to specific sites without your input, while Spyware captures and sends information stored or transmitted by your computer. Anti-Adware and Anti-Spyware software is fairly easy to install and maintain. Make sure that you enable automatic download of updates so that your software is always current.
Anti-spam: Unsolicited emails are known as spam. You should always delete these emails as soon as you receive them. Clicking on a link will alert spam senders that they have a valid email address and some of these links may contain malicious spyware. Most anti-spam software is integrated into your email client, which means you can choose to block emails from certain senders or allow them into your inbox. Some have updates similar to anti-virus software.
Phishing is spam that tries to gain your valuable personal information. Usually, phishing emails will ask you to click on a link to visit a site and update your details. This fake site will often look very similar to the real site. Entering your details onto these sites will capture your login details. If you ever receive this type of email purporting to be from Police Credit, call 13 63 73 or email us. You should always immediately delete any unsolicited emails that request your information.
Where to report e-crime
Scams from interstate or overseas – contact ACCC on 1300 302 502
Financial and investment scams – contact ASIC or FIDO on 1300 300 630
Banking and credit card fraud – email or call Police Credit on 13 63 73
Spam emails – contact ACMA on (03) 9963 6800