5 scams you should be aware of

Last year, scammers collectively stole $300 million from innocent Australians, according to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch report. This is a whopping 47 per cent increase from those reported in 2015.

The ACCC’s paper combined scam reports from a number of agencies to come up with the total. Scamwatch reported that from their numbers, the average loss per complainant was $7,226. Victims reported 58 per cent of their losses disappeared online and the majority of these people were targeted by online  “romantic interests” or through “investment opportunities.”

You need to be aware of the following scams and keep your debit, credit cards and banking information secure at all times.

1. Catfishing

Catfishing is a scam that plays on emotion. Often the scammer will create a fake profile and get in contact with you because they “want to get to know you”. This most commonly occurs through dating services, but it can also happen via email or social media.

The scammer will very quickly begin to show affection towards you in an effort to gain your trust and eventually, your credit card details. While these interactions start off innocent enough, remember that this scam does happen and approach any potential romantic interest you meet online with this in mind.

2. Bad investments

If you’ve come across what appears to be a fantastic investment opportunity at the ground level, before making any decisions here are some examples of things you need to ask yourself. Where did you hear about it? Was it on a message board or in an unsolicited email? If so, chances are this too good to be true opportunity is exactly that. Scammers using this method believe that greed will make people gullible. They rely on the fact that you may not do your homework as thoroughly as you could because you have dollar signs in your eyes.

If you come across a fantastic investment opportunity online, make sure you do your research, and seek advice from a financial advisor or more experienced investors that you know.

3. Computer Security

Through the use of dodgy software like malware, spyware, and keyloggers, criminals are now able to record your bank account details and account login information. This type of software is engineered specifically to disrupt the regular use of your computer or gain access to it. The scary part is that it doesn’t take a great deal of effort from the scammer to get this type of software onto your computer – sometimes all it takes is failing to close the wrong pop-up box- but the good news is that it can be prevented.

You can usually avoid this sort of scam by ensuring you have a reliable up-to-date internet security program. Ensure your browser and operating system have been updated to the latest versions, and disable the autorun programs that instruct your computer to take certain action when hardware is added (for example, automatically opening a folder when you plug in an external drive). Don’t engage with any pop-ups, no matter what they are offering or promising.

4. Phishing

Phishing is a process where a scammer pretends to be a well known company to elicit credit card or bank account details from you. As previously mentioned, it’s better for you to just avoid emails from people or organisations you don’t know. However, phishing scams are disguised to look like a note from a friend, or a notice from your bank.

In these cases, the language used in the email will often give it away. Your bank will never say “Dear Customer”, rather they will address you personally. “Dear customer” should be considered a red flag. Some emails will even contain blatant spelling or grammar mistakes.  If you’re not sure, you should always call the company to double check. We recommend you look the number up as the number provided may go directly to the scammer.

5. Skimming

Card skimming is a method criminals use to obtain your details and make ‘clones’ of your card. Most of the time, skimming is done through placing an external card reader over the ATM’s slot. The reader will gain access to all the information your card carries. In order to get your pin, most skimmers will use a hidden camera or fake keyboard placed over the real one. You should be mindful of additional devices or odd looking equipment added to the ATM machine. If you think it has been tampered with, report it to the ATM owner and try another ATM

Credit card security is important, and while your card provider has taken steps to ensure secure transactions, this can all go out the window if you are not taking safety precautions yourself. For more info about security of Beyond Bank credit cards, get in contact with us today on 13 25 85.