Published on Jul 4, 2017

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Gone phishing

 

If you receive an email or a phone call from a well-known brand or a government department, watch out. It could just be a scam to relieve you of some of your vital business funds.

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning people to keep an eye out for a new ‘phishing’ scam. The emailer sends you an email that requests you update your details, or perhaps fill in a survey to win a small prize.

 

The scam has cost Australians almost $260,000 so far, according to the ACCC’s Scamwatch. Total complaints number approximately 11,000 in 2017 alone.

 

Scamwatch has reported that phishing scams are the most common form of scam they hear about. Phishing complaints are 63 per cent higher than other types of scams.

 

Older Australians are more vulnerable to this type of scam. Victims are being asked to hand over bank account details as well as personal details, passwords and credit card details.

 

“The scammer may say that the bank or organisation is verifying customer records due to a technical error that wiped out customer data. Or, they may ask you to fill out a customer survey and offer a prize for participating. These are all part of a scammer’s bag of tricks they use to get you to give up your valuable personal data,” said ACCC Acting Chair, Delia Rickard.

 

“We’re so used to providing our personal information when we sign up for services over the phone or shop online that sometimes we don’t think twice about giving it out,” Ms Rickard said.

 

“However, it’s very important you closely guard your personal information. Delete any email or hang up on a phone call that you receive out of the blue that is asking for your personal information—even if it purports to be from a well-known business or government organisation that you have previously dealt with and trust.”

 

“If you think your information has been stolen by a scammer, report it to the relevant institution immediately. For example, if you think they have your bank details, get in touch with your bank; if you think they have your login to a social media account, contact that site to report it. The sooner you can act, the better,” said Ms Rickard.

 

People concerned about phishing scams should visit www.scamwatch.gov.au to learn more about the warning signs and how to protect themselves. Here, they can also report the scam to the ACCC. People can also follow @Scamwatch_gov on Twitter and subscribe to Scamwatch radar alerts to get up-to-date warnings.