Financial losses from phishing schemes, which trick people into giving out personal information, were up 261 per cent in 2021, compared to 2020. However, in more recent data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission shows a 301 per cent increase in financial losses from recovery scams, which target desperate victims of a previous scam by promising to help them recover their losses after paying a fee in advance.
With the pandemic increasing our dependence on the internet to work remotely, access services and communicate with others, how can we protect ourselves from these kinds of scams?
Continue reading to find out our 6 tips to protect you and your business from scams.
1. Be social, but with care
Your personal information on social media can be used for targeted online scams, so be careful about the kind of information you share publicly.
For example, if you post your pet’s name or your mother’s maiden name, you might inadvertently reveal the answers to two common security questions.
Also, only accept friend requests from people you know.
Remember don’t include your date of birth, address or other sensitive information on your social profiles and be careful about revealing your location. These details can be used for targeted phishing attacks. To appear legitimate, scammers will often send you a personalised email with information like your name, personal details and interests.
2. Don’t get caught in a phish
Phishing is how cyber criminals steal confidential information. They do this by sending a fraudulent message.
The messages can come from organisations you trust, so that they appear to be legitimate. Previously used examples include the police, utility providers, banks, telecommunication services and even government departments like the Australian Taxation Office.
You may receive them via email, SMS, instant messaging or social media platforms. Often there will be a link to a bogus website, where you are encouraged to provide confidential information.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre suggests taking the following steps to protect yourself:
3. Be aware – know what to look for
Knowing how scammers operate will help you spot a scam. Clues to look out for include:
- The web and email addresses do not look genuine
- Spelling and grammatical errors
- Requests for money or to confirm personal information
- There’s a suspicious attachment
- Clickbait tactics such as appealing to your sense of curiosity or creating urgency.
4. Know how to respond
If you suspect a scam, don’t do anything the email or message asks and don’t reply. If you’re at work, notify your IT desk straight away.
If it’s too late and you’ve already revealed financial details, contact your financial institution immediately.
5. Scammers targeting victims
If you have already been a target of a scam, be aware of uninvited offers of help to recover money for an up-front payment and may request remote access to computers or smart phones.
Scamwatch is warning people to be aware of uninvited offers of help to recover money for an up-front payment, following a spike in reports of money recovery scams.
6. Be clever with your passwords
Using the same password across multiple accounts is a big no-no! Be sure to mix up your passwords and to change them regularly. Choose multi-factor authentication where possible.
The longer and more complex the password, the better. A strong password should contain a few capital letters, numbers and a symbol. It’s a good idea to use passphrases of 12 or more characters.
If the idea of remembering multiple passwords gives you a headache, consider using a Password Manager. These programs help you to generate complete passwords and store them in an encrypted database.
Protect yourself and your business
Crest Insurance are your local Gold Coast insurance brokers, specialising in both personal and business insurance.
We have an extensive product range, tailored to suit your specific business needs. Our cyber insurance product will ensure cybercrime risk to your business is minimised, so you can worry less and thrive more.
Contact Crest Insurance today to learn more and find the best insurance products tailored to your business.
We hope you found these tips handy. Remember, your cybersecurity is important, so be proactive and help protect yourself today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this news post is general in nature and is intended to provide a general summary only and should not be relied on as a substitute for professional advice.