Safety from Scammers
We are guessing that you have heard the term ‘Phishing’ by now. It has nothing to do with water, boats or fish – but it does have to do with luring your prey.
So if you are a fisherman and decide you want a particular type of fish, you know what bait to use, what hook type, line weight, and depth to have it hanging really handy in the way.., tantalising.., un-ignorable..!
Phishing is also done using the above type of luring approach to catch prey.
In this case however, YOU are the PREY!
Criminals don’t care who you are or what your circumstances are, they just want your money!
Nowadays, they will use any way of getting hold of you that they can such as:
- Phoning you
- Texting you
- Emailing you
- YouTube adverts
- Web Browser adverts
We will go into some real-life experiences of phishing further down the post, but for now, if you don’t have much time, remember the following to stay safe.
The Golden Safety Rules to avoid scams.
OVERALL GOLDEN RULE:
If you have initiated contact with them, you can be reasonably sure you are not being scammed.
If ‘They’ have initiated contact with you – Be VERY ALERT!
GOLDEN RULES FOR WHEN ‘THEY’ INITIATE CONTACT WITH YOU.
- GIVE NOTHING OVER THE PHONE
- DON’T GIVE REMOTE ACCESS TO YOUR COMPUTER\DEVICE
- DON’T TRUST UNEXPECTED SMS
- DON’T TRUST UNEXPECTED EMAIL
- DON’T CLICK ON LINKS OR OPEN ATTACHMENTS
1. GIVE NOTHING OVER THE PHONE
(Real life example further down)
If you receive a phone call from someone you do not know – No matter who they say they represent (Telstra, Westpac, ATO, etc..) – if they ask for any detail from you at all including your full name or birth date, simply let them know you will have to call them back via the main company number. Do not use any information they give you (Return call numbers, websites, email addresses, etc.)
Avoid saying “Yes” or “I Agree”. They will try to get a voice recording of that, which they can then use to authorise other accounts.
Then hang up. If you are curious, then look up the company contact phone number on Google and call the main company. Explain that you received a call from someone saying they were from that company and asking for information from you. That company will then be able to either confirm or deny legitimacy.
2. DON’T GIVE REMOTE ACCESS TO YOUR COMPUTER\DEVICE
(Real life example further down)
Unless it is your known tech support (like us 👍), you should not give anyone else remote access to your computer or device.
3. DON’T TRUST UNEXPECTED SMS
(Real life example further down)
Yes, SMS is now being used widely for scams. If it is an unexpected SMS with a link, don’t trust it. If you are curious, then look up the company contact phone number on Google and call the main company. Explain that you received an SMS purportedly from them and tell them what it says. That company will then be able to either confirm or deny legitimacy.
4. DON’T TRUST UNEXPECTED EMAILS
If it is an unexpected Email with a link or attachment, don’t trust it. If you are curious, then look up the company contact phone number on Google and call the main company. Explain that you received an Email purportedly from them and tell them what it says. That company will then be able to either confirm or deny legitimacy.
5. DON’T CLICK ON LINKS OR OPEN ATTACHMENTS
Unless expected, or you have contacted them and they are guiding you over the phone, do not click on links you receive. Some of the more popular ones that scammers are pretending to be include:
Australia Post – your delivery is not arriving…. <BLURB>, click on link to see details, or, attached document is the goods description.
ATO – Due to some discrepancies noticed in your Tax Return, you are being Audited. Full details of your rights…. <BLURB>, are contained in the attached document, or, click on link to see details.
<Any Australia wide company name> – For your information, see Invoice attached.
Telstra/Optus/Virgin – Your account is overdue and is being disconnected today …. <BLURB>, details are contained in the attached document, or, click on link to see details.
Origin Energy/AGL/Alinta – Your account is overdue and supply is being disconnected today …. <BLURB>, details are contained in the attached document, or, click on link to see details.
JB Hifi/McDonalds/Coles – Your last purchase also had a competition entry attached. Congratulations…. <BLURB>, how to claim details are contained in the attached document, or, click on link to see details.Criminals create web pages that look just like the original.
● Criminals create web pages that look just like the original.
● Criminals create Emails that look just like the real thing.
● Criminals have created what sounds just like a busy call centre for (eg). Telstra for background noise when they call.
●It is getting very hard to spot the fakes.
Just remember –
If THEY initiated contact with you – STRANGER DANGER!
Phone Scam – Actual Occurrence – May 2019 – Queensland
An Elderly lady, Judith (Not her real name) was having issues with her internet at home and called Telstra. They booked a call with Judith for the following day at 11:00am.
At 10:00am Judith received a call from ‘Telstra’ saying they were investigating issues with her computer. They obtained remote access and did some things (No idea what) and then ended up telling Judith that her computer was infected with a virus and her Anti-virus was not good enough.
They suggested that Judith purchase Norton’s Antivirus and opened the official Norton’s Website on her computer. They then told Judith to order and purchase a copy of Norton’s Antivirus.
Judith diligently entered all her details and paid for it using her credit card and purchased a legitimate copy of Nortons. All the while, the person who was remotely logged into her computer made a careful note of her details as she entered them.
Within the hour, $34,000.00 was taken from her Credit card.
Thankfully Westpac bank\Mastercard returned the money. It is not known if the scammers got away with it. Judith was highly distraught and, in her words, “felt like she had been raped”. Judith is 84 yrs.
Several questions pop into my mind.
- Did Judith talk to an actual Telstra Tech the first time she called. She cannot remember where she obtained the support number from.
- It is a mighty co-incidence that the scammer called Judith’s number slightly earlier on the day a call was expected, with details that she required support. Could a bona-fide overseas help desk employee be secretly making money on the side by passing details of potential prey on to scammers?
- We do not know if the real Telstra tried to call at 11 as Judith was already on the phone to the scammer. To my knowledge Judith never did receive contact from Telstra.
OUTCOME: Judith had to pay for her computer to be completely wiped and re-installed. This is the only safe way to ensure your computer is clean and has no ‘back doors’ after someone has gained access remotely.
Judith’s number and details have obviously been sold to other scammers as she has received many such calls since. One, pretending to be Telstra again, even had full call centre background noise, offered a bogus employee ID and even had a ‘supervisor’ who Judith was transferred to when she was reluctant to pass on any information. She has not been scammed since – but is often being harassed by phone calls from scammers.
What can you think of doing to not only protect yourself, but perhaps family, friends and your workplace?
The only workable solution is to ensure that the people in your life whom you care about, are fully aware of the risks so they can protect themselves when alone.
(Or take their bank accounts, phones, computers, front door bell and post box away……..)
SMS Scam – Actual Occurrence – Sep 2019 – Queensland
I happened to receive my first Scam SMS on Monday and I thought I would share it with you. This one is a very immature attempt with several ‘Warning’ signs.
I’ll highlight them below:
Whilst the above had some obvious errors, the scammers will improve until it is near identical.
It has been cleverly crafted in some ways:
- Using a well known store name – higher chance you have been to one!
- Using a date from a couple of months ago – can you remember if you went to a store on that day? Can you remember if you inadvertently did a 2 question survey? Does JB HiFi have your phone number?
- Finished 2nd. Well that explains why I only get an SMS. If it was 1st I would think a phone call would be the minimum they would do.
Its LURE is a possible windfall. All you have to do is follow the link (One little screen tap) and you might be a new LED TV or iTunes Gift card better off…
Oooh, it is SOOOO enticing!
I could have been at JB HiFi on June 15th, right?
I have given positive feedback on employees at Bunnings when they give great service, maybe I did this at JB HiFi as well? Maybe that is what got me entered into this competition? Let me Click!
Of course, this may actually be a poorly written, but legit SMS (Shame on you JB HiFi marketing team). I could call them and ask if there were any competitions, but I don’t think I’ll waste my breath or time.
So that wraps it up for this September 2019 Blog. There is so much more detail that could be included and so many more examples, but the important thing here is to get the message across to be careful – not fill you up with technical details and fear. Small IMPORTANT steps.
I hope this information helps. You certainly have my permission to pass this information on to your loved ones, workmates and business associates. The more we can stop scammers from being effective, the better off we all are.
If you wish to obtain any further information or happen to have received an email or text that you think might be important – but could also be a scam and just want to confirm, give our team a call.
Please note that unfortunately, we cannot provide free support to entities (or persons) that are not existing clients. All our time is dedicated to ensuring that clients (partners) of ours are supported with excellent service and speed. We support business entities in the Greater Brisbane region of Queensland, AUSTRALIA.
Take Care, Stay Aware.
CCSiT Pty Ltd
Phone: 07 3376 3033