National Scams Awareness Week is a reminder to be wary of what information you share and whom you share it with.
The ACCC Scamwatch data for this year shows that Victorians have been scammed to the tune of $10 million so far, which is a worrying figure considering that just over $8.2 million dollars was stolen in 2019. Another worrying trend is the increase in people reporting stolen personal information – up a staggering 55 per cent compared with the same period last year.
The ACCC Scamwatch data shows that phishing scams are up by 44 per cent on last year. Phishing scams are when scammers pretend to be from government departments and businesses, like the ATO, myGov, Telstra or the NBN, to gain bank account details and other information about a person that can be used to impersonate them.
‘Our increased use of technology has created more opportunities for scammers’ ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said, ‘Never give your personal or financial information to anyone you don’t know or trust via email, text, social media or over the phone’.
With more people turning to digital platforms to connect and communicate, more opportunities are created for scammers to steal personal information such as bank account details and passwords.
Anyone can fall victim to a scammer, they use sophisticated methods to catch you off guard. So make sure you take the time to think “is this for real?”. Do not give your personal information to unexpected messages and emails asking for your details, even if they claim to be from a reputable organisation or government authority, and even if they claim you owe money or are risking a fine.
Do not open emails from people you don’t know or click on links from unexpected social media messages or pop-up windows. And if you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a message, contact that organisation directly through their website – do not follow a link from a text message or email as it could be fake.
For more information on scams and National Scams Awareness Week, visit the Scamwatch website.
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Commissioner for Senior Victorians
Gerard Mansour is a passionate advocate for the rights and needs of older Victorians, with more than 25 years’ experience working in the aged and wider community service sectors. He has contributed significantly to policy development and implementation of services assisting senior Victorians.