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Scams and Hoaxes November 25, 2009

Posted by ctcoberon in Uncategorized.
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SCAMwatch – a site to help you recognise, report and protect yourself from scams. Explore SCAMwatch to find out more about the scams that target you or your small business. Visit http://www.scamwatch.gov.au / if you get an offer that is ‘too good to be true’ and see if it listed there!

Some typical scams are:

  1. An email or letter from an overseas lottery or sweepstakes company arrives from out of nowhere. It will advise you that you have won a lot of money or fantastic prizes—in a lottery or sweepstakes competition you did not enter. Lottery scams will often use the names of legitimate overseas lotteries (often Spanish lotteries), so that even if you do some superficial research, the scam will seem real.
  2. Requests for your account information (‘phishing’ scams). ‘Phishing’ refers to emails that trick people into giving out their personal and banking information; they can also be sent by SMS. These messages seem to come from legitimate businesses, normally banks or other financial institutions or telecommunications providers. The scammers are generally trying to get information like your bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers, which they will then use to steal your money.

Protect yourself from phishing scams

  • NEVER send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
  • Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and know that the phone number came from a trusted source.
  • Do not open suspicious or unsolicited emails (spam)—ignore them. You can report spam to Australian Communications and Media Authority. If you do not wish to report the message, delete it.
  • Do not click on any links in a spam email or open any files attached to them.
  • Never call a telephone number that you see in a spam email or SMS.
  • If you want to access an internet account website, use a bookmarked link or type the address in yourself—NEVER follow a link in an email.
  • Check the website address carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with very similar addresses.
  • Never enter your personal, credit card or online account information on a website if you are not certain it is genuine.
  • Never send your personal, credit card or online account details through an email.

If in doubt about an email or phone call – check out the Scamwatch website.

Some websites to look at when you receive an email you suspect as a hoax are http://www.snopes.com/  and our own Australian version is http://www.hoax-slayer.com/  – this website also has some stories that sound like hoaxes – but are real!

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