Got 99 Problems but Being Scammed Ain’t One!
Virtual show of hands, how many of you know someone who has been scammed?
It could have been donating to a fake (or impersonated) charity, an investment scam, or even related to jumping the waitlist for a COVID-19 vaccine scam.
Let’s just say, I’d be willing to bet my Nonna’s secret Bolognese sauce recipe* that most of you reading this blog have your hand up.
*bet is used as hyperbole and is non-binding, and in any case I suspect Nonna has deliberately omitted key ingredients so that when she makes it, it’s always better.
There have been 191,991 reported scams in Australia in 2021, with an estimated $192,683,367 ($192.7m) lost this year alone… and it’s only October!**
With anecdotal reports of an increase in text and call scams from SEEK staff, it seemed that the stars had aligned when David Lacey, the founder and managing director of IDCARE, joined SEEK staff for our first SEEKurity Talks event.
Who is David Lacey and IDCARE?
SEEKurity Talks brings industry guest speakers into SEEK to shed light on cyber security and safety topics. David Lacey has held senior executive roles across Government and industry within the areas of identity and cyber security, law enforcement and national security.
David is also the founder and managing director of IDCARE, which is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber support service. IDCARE helps individuals and organisations “reduce the harm they experience from the compromise and misuse of their identity information by providing effective response and mitigation.”
Watch the full SEEKurity Talks with David Lacey at SEEK video
What’s the latest with scams?
Scams can take many forms. A scam is a fraudulent activity in which an individual (or group) uses communication channels to steal data and facilitate malicious activities, such as stealing money. Scammers often pretend to be a trusted source, including impersonating legitimate companies, charities, or investment groups.
With the rise of the internet, online scammers now have a much bigger reach. In fact, in 2021 IDCARE has seen considerable growth in the amount of text and phone scams. You’ve probably seen an increase in the number of scams being conducted over-the-phone, sent out via email or text message, or appearing in social media (and if not, consider yourself lucky!).
In the last 30 days, the three most commonly compromised credentials were: mobile number, driver’s licence, and full name.
There are 10–15 million scam calls coming into Australia a month. We have a population of 26 million. It takes very little effort to send out the calls and if only 1% respond, that is a great return on investment for the scammers.
Anyone can be scammed
To bring home the effect of being scammed, David shared a striking interview with a 57-year-old man (who we will refer to as Bob), residing in Melbourne. Bob was the victim of an investment scam in 2020.
Bob saw an ad on his social media account for cryptocurrency investment, so he clicked on the button to learn more. After reading through the webpage, Bob eventually invested €100,000 (equivalent to $158,000 AUD) in the cryptocurrency investment site. He had invested his savings from a property that he had sold.
Bob was seeing that he was making money on the investment and started dreaming of retiring on the returns.
That is… until a policeman knocked on Bob’s door to notify him that he was a victim of a scam.
After being notified of the scam, the Police directed Bob to IDCARE who assisted to protect his identity from further scams and provide counselling.
Bob: “They have already taken your money, but you can’t let them take your mind”
5 tips on how to protect yourself from being scammed
To ensure scammers are not one of your 99 problems, David suggests:
- Set up Multifactor Authentication: Wherever possible, and preferably via an authenticator application, use Multifactor Authentication. This adds an extra authentication method to prove that it is really you trying to log into an account.
- Be selective on who you provide personal information to: When asked to provide personal information, sensitive data or credentials, be curious and ask for what purpose, why, for how long, and who with?
- Review your email account: Take the time to review your own email accounts and remove traces of credential images, as well as details about you and others.
- Talk about scams: Talk with your family and friends about attempted or successful scams that you or others have experienced. Scammers and cybercriminals count on people not sharing their stories.
- Don’t respond to random requests: Never respond to emails, SMS, and phone calls that claim an urgent requirement to give access to your computer, or ask you to provide personal information. Legitimate companies will not ask for this. Hang up! Then call back to the trusted provider’s registered number.
What can you do if you have been scammed?
No one is infallible to scams, especially when they are getting more and more complex. If you have been the victim of a scam, below are some key steps to limit the damage and protect yourself:
- Call your Bank: Get in touch with your Bank to stop malicious activities, such as any payments or requests for loans in your name.
- Protect your identity: Contact IDCARE to create a tailored response plan to protect your identity. Visit the IDCARE website or call 1800 595 160 (if in Australia) or 0800 121 068 (if in New Zealand).
- Report the scam: Report the scam to your local cybercrime agency. In Australian, you can report to the Competition and Consumer Commission’s ‘Scam Watch’ here.
- Change your passwords: If you are concerned about your accounts being potentially breached, change your passwords right now. Ensure you use strong, unique passwords for every account. Consider using a password manager so you can be confident your passwords and data stays safe across accounts.
Watch SEEKurity Talks with David Lacey
David gave us so much useful information in his SEEKurity Talks. Watch the recording of David Lacey SEEKurity Talks at SEEK video 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.
**Source: ScamWatch Australia