Scams are not going away anytime soon, with 213,000 reports received so far this year. This week is Scams Awareness Week with this year’s theme: Let’s talk scams. To remain vigilant, ensure you know what scams are. Scams can be classified as fraudulent attempts at tricking you in to handing over personal and financial information. Cybercriminals execute this in a variety of ways: romance scams, online shopping scams and threat based scams to name a few.
According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), the most common scams being reported in 2021 include:
- Flubot scams
- Remote access scams
- Investment scams
- Threat scams
An aggressive mobile malware, targeting Android devices, it sends users SMS messages notifying them they have a voicemail message. In order to listen to the message, the user will need to click on the link and download an app which leads them to a fake version of a reputable company’s website or app. Once the malware is downloaded, it will then be sent to all contacts on the device. While this malware is currently affecting Android users, if an iPhone user clicks on the link, they will be redirected to download a different type of malicious software that can be harmful to the device.
Remote access scams
These scams involve cybercriminals contacting people over the phone in order to gain access to their computer and steal their information or money. This can also be known as technical support scams. They pretend to be from reputable companies, such as Telstra, eBay, Amazon, and banks to request access to your computer to ‘urgently’ fix an issue. This scam has evolved with pop ups now appearing, that claim to be from Microsoft, notifying the user that there is an issue with their device and to click on the link to “receive assistance”.
Investment scams promise easy, large amounts of money with guaranteed returns and low risk. With cryptocurrency being one of the most common types of investment scams. As cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency, it is not treated as ‘money’ and in Australia, you have minimal protection if you invest and lose a large amount of money through a scam.
These scams rely on the victim’s fear and their willingness to comply with requests for money as they believe the request is from a trusted business or government department. The scammers threaten the victim into sending money or personal information otherwise they will fine, disconnect a service and even threaten to have you arrested or deported. Common examples of these scams are calls from the ‘Australian Tax Office’ for tax fraud or scammers posing as the Chinese police or embassy to extort money, particularly from international students.
Don’t get caught up in a scam. Learn more about scams and how to stay safe here.