Thursday, January 19th, 2017 by Erin Kavanagh
It can be a dangerous world out there (lions and tigers and bears, oh my!) but today’s increasingly digital lifestyle can bring some unexpected risks. You shouldn’t have to worry too much about who may be emailing, calling, and visiting your door – you just need to be aware.
We’ve looked into the most recent online and internet service scams out there to help you keep one eye open and stay a step ahead of the cheats. Have a pen handy because they are sneakier than you think!
As the NBN™ rolls out, you’ll receive plenty of legitimate notices from nbn co ltd. and telco providers letting you know when it reaches your door.
However, there are some crafty scammers out there claiming to be from nbn co ltd. and using it as an excuse to gain access to homes, apartments and small businesses around Australia. SCAMwatch has warned Aussies about NBN™ related scams seeking to get your personal details or encouraging you to buy equipment you don’t actually need to get the NBN™.
You should be suspicious if a caller or door-knocker asks for your bank or credit card details. It’s unlikely that nbn co ltd. would ask consumers for payment or personal details and your telco provider would have taken these details securely when you signed up for your plan. You should only give out your personal details if you know who you are talking to and understand the reason for providing them.
Numerous calls, appointments to sign contracts and asking for access to your home without someone present are some key signs that something is not right! As an added measure, keep on top of the rollout because if you’re being told you need an installation when your address isn’t even ready to receive an NBN™ service yet, that will be your first red flag.
If you’re unsure about what you need to do to switch to services over the NBN™ or come across anything odd, contact your telco using the number on their official website or in the telephone directory.
Booking a getaway
You may be familiar with popular accommodation booking sites such as Airbnb but watch out for shady listings!
Last month, SCAMwatch had over 150 scams reported via these platforms for falsely advertised properties and stolen deposits. With over $80,000 reported lost, complaints have risen to three times those in 2015.
So how do you know if you are being scammed? Scammers on these sites will direct you away from the site and have you pay via money orders or wire transfer. To be safe, make sure you are paying via a secure payment system as most legit sites will use these. Scammers may even send confirmation emails that appear to be the real deal so have a close look, double check addresses using Google Maps and always read the reviews left on the listing.
Dating sites and social media romances are now so common that it’s easy for scammers to ‘romance’ their connections into ‘sharing’ their money. The MTV show Catfish may even ring a bell?
After creating trust using a fake profiles, the scammer will move the convo off the dating site and onto a less traceable platform to continue the conversation. Patience is the key with these scammers as they will spend months gaining trust and later requesting financial help for an emergency or even flights to go see their ‘lover’.
Trust your gut – ask lots of questions and keep your financial details confidential when dating online.
Last year, Police caught on to suspicious traffic infringements being sent out via email. The emails appear authentic and even include the official WA Police logo. These ‘infringement emails’ include an infringement number, date of issue, fine and due date – there is even a link to a video as evidence. Keep your eye out because this scam has recently popped up in WA and it may only be a matter of time before it comes to other states and territories.
You should keep in mind that the Police currently only issue speeding fines by handing them to you on the spot or posting a traffic infringement via snail mail, so it’s safe to say all email infringements aren’t from them.
Scams linked to Centrelink are nothing new, in fact the reports are increasing. The ACCC advises to keep aware of phone calls from people posing as employees from the Department of Human Services at Centrelink.
Last year SCAMwatch received over 2,000 reports of these scams with over $27,000 reported lost. Scammers will ask for money via wire transfers and will scare you into paying by saying that your benefits will be cut off if you don’t pay up.
The Department of Human Services will NEVER ask you to deposit money in order to receive payments. If in doubt, hang up on any out of the blue calls and call back using the correct contact details online or those in the old fashioned phone book.
Now that you know what’s going on out there, you should sleep soundly tonight. To stay one step ahead of scammers, follow @SCAMwatch_gov on Twitter. If you come across something that doesn’t seem quite right, report it! You can report anything that seems a little fishy on the SCAMwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.