5 Things You Can Do Today to Protect Yourself From Scams

Kelsy Luengen
Nov 9, 2021 · 5 min read

I don’t know about you, but if I get a call and don’t have the number in my phone, it can go straight to voicemail!

Sure, it might be a legitimate phone call or something important. But, more often than not, as soon as I answer, it’s a recording about not paying my taxes or criminal charges in my name. Or maybe this times it’s a call asking for my personal information and trying to sell me something that sounds a bit fraudulent.

Phone calls. Text messages. Email. Social media. It seems like nowadays scams are hitting us up from every direction.

Retrieved from https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams

So what can be done about all these scams?

To celebrate , and to increase awareness and reporting of scam-based cybercrimes, we thought it would be a great time to reflect on the first ever event and revise some of the lessons David Lacey taught us. David is the founder and managing director of IDCARE, which is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber support service. David talked about the latest working from home scams, how to spot them, and the developing trends on cyber scams.

While we might not be able to stop the scam calls, e-mails, and text messages, David gave us his 5 best tips to ensure we don’t become victims of cyber scams:

  1. Talk to your friends and family about cyber scams
  2. Set up Multi-factor Authentication
  3. Be selective to whom you provide personal information
  4. Don’t respond to random requests
  5. Review your account settings

1. Talk to your friends and family about cyber scams

This first tip is perfectly aligned with the theme for this year’s Scam Awareness Week — ‘Let’s Talk Scams’! This is because cyber security is not a solo mission, it takes a village to combat cybercrime effectively and keep everyone safe.

There is often a lot of stigma around cyber scams and falling victim to them. However, scammers and cybercriminals count on people not sharing their stories so they can continue using the same scams and methods.

Talk with your family and friends about attempted or successful scams that you or others have experienced. Talking about scams creates ongoing awareness, de-stigmatizes victimization, plus an outsider’s perspective may help us identify any warning signs that we have fallen victim.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

2. Set up Multi-factor Authentication

You might have heard it called MFA or 2FA (two factor authentication), but make sure to set it up whenever possible. MFA is an electronic authentication method where you can only access an account when you use two (or more) parts of the authentication process. This usually includes something you know (like a password) and something you possess (such as access to your phone or associated email address).

By setting up MFA (or 2FA) it means that even if someone guesses or obtains your password, your account can’t be accessed unless you authorize the attempted entry!

3. Be selective to whom you provide personal information

We use our personal information to verify our accounts, get access to our medical record, and apply for loans. Despite the power this information holds, we can sometimes overshare this information on our social media channels or when talking to someone who sounds authoritative online or on the phone.

If someone calls you or makes contact out of the blue and asks you to provide personal information (e.g. date of birth, bank account details), sensitive data (such as medical records), or credentials (like a driver’s license or birth certificate) be curious and question why they might need for this information. Ask for the intended purpose, why they need it, for how long they’ll keep it.

Photo by Jim Reardan on Unsplash

4. Don’t respond to random requests

Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency or instill fear to get us to act without thinking. Never respond to emails or text messages that claim an urgent requirement to give access to your device, click on a link, or ask you to provide personal information. If you get a phone call urging you to provide your personal information or sensitive data…Hang up!

If you are worried that an account may be suspended, log into the account via a verified URL and check for any notices. Or call using the provider’s/company’s registered number and inquire through the legitimate channels.

5. Review your account settings

We add a lot of personal information to our accounts, sometimes without knowing what can be seen publicly. This information may be used to initiate identity theft which can impact our credit rating or be used for other malicious intent.

Take the time to review your account settings, especially on social media. Remove traces of credential images (such as qualifications or driver’s license) and delete personal details about you and others.

Learn more about the latest scams

Click here to watch the recording of David Lacey’ at SEEK and learn more about:

• The latest working from home scams and how to spot them

• The current and developing trends on cyber scams

• What we can do to be resilient and protect ourselves from scams at home.

SEEK blog

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