protect yourself from scams australia

More and more Australians are unfortunately falling victim to online scams every day. As technology grows smarter, so do those who exploit it for financial gain. In a time where most of the population rely on the internet for bank transfers, shopping and bill repayment, it’s important to stay vigilant about every site you visit and especially careful with every site you provide your personal and financial details to.

Everyone Is Vulnerable To Online Scams

No matter your background, age or income, you have got to be aware that you could be the target of a scam. There are no special group of people who are targeted by scammers, although by staying aware that these scams exist, you are protecting yourself from becoming gullible to offers that are too good to be true.

For every large bank and retailer, there are scam websites that exist to mock their deisn and trick you into entering your details with a false sense of security. They prey on naïve, good natured people who aren’t aware of the dangers of online fraud and identity theft and just how common it has become.

How Do You Protect Yourself From Online Scams?

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Email Scams

Fake emails are the main way in which scammers make contact with victims, often time using mock-up email templates that your bank may use. The first step to take is to check the email address that the sender has used. Search your mailbox and see if it matches any previous emails from the institte they are claiming to be. No matter the case, never open any attachements or follow any links from unknown senders as they can plant intrusive software known as Malware on your computer which will attack your personal information.

Most banks and financial institutions will never email you and ask you to verify your details, so never send back personal information to these emails regardless of whether or not you believe them to be legitimate. Instead, call the company and speak to a verified employer who can direct you if any direction needs to be taken, while as well notifying them of the email to protect yourself in the future.

 

As mentioned, scammers often try to target good natured and gullible people. Emails that ask for help or assistance in any way shape or form, should be deleted. Whether it be a Nigerian Prince or a distressed victim of financial fraud, it’s important to disregard any form of financial pleading and understand that they are scammers preying on your vulnerability.

Avoid Untrusted Websites And Look For Security Certificates

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Scammers have become very sophisticated in their efforts to re-create the websites of banks, retail stores and even social media networks. While the site may be identical in every way, it’s vital that the first thing you look for is a valid security certificate which correctly identifies the site.

If the site you have been directed to does not begin with ‘https://’  and they are asking for any information whatsoever, close the site. The only way to be sure that you are communicating with a certain site is if they have a valid security certificate that is registered in their name, otherwise, it could be literally anyone in the world.

 

Ensure Your Anti-Virus Software Is Up To Date

A problem that many users face, is that they aren’t alerted when an untrusted website is visited. A common factor is that users fail to update their anti-virus software, which over time grows in strength as it collects the information of harmful websites and protects you from communicating with them.

If you have an out-of-date anti-virus you can’t be protected against current threats and can find yourself unknowingly visiting sites that may harm your computer in order to gain access to your private information. Even though it may seem tedious and time consuming, allow your anti-virus software to update whenever necessary as it will save you from problems in the long run.

 

How Do I Prevent Identity Theft Properly?

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The first line of defence against identity theft is strong password management skills. Your passwords should be unique, complicated and contain both letters, numbers and symbols. By using the same password for all of your online accounts, you leave yourself extremely vulnerable if someone gathers access to your information. Now not only do they have your email password for example, but every site you have used that email for because the passwords all match.

If they aren’t already, set your social networking profiles to private as a defensive measure against anyone who may have your personal information and interested in gaining access to your schedule or photos. By keeping a private internet presence you are less vulnerable to be targeted by not willingly putting your information out for all to see.

Protect Yourself By Staying Alert And Aware

Just by knowing that these scams exist is a great way to prevent yourself from ever falling victim to one. Stay sceptical of all emails asking for any information whatsoever and keep your eyes peeled for current security certificates and correct contact information when visiting websites that you are required to log into.

Remember, that if and offer seems too good to be true, it is. Don’t be led astray by sophisticated scammers who prey on the desire for free products and services. By remaining sceptical and treating all websites as a threat unless told by your anti-virus otherwise, you make it extremely hard for yourself to fall victim and lose your finances and possibly your identity.

 

 

Published by dlook

dLook are online advertising specialists at the forefront of the advertising on the Internet. Combined with their flagship business directory, dlook.com.au, dLook have been providing online advertising solutions to Australian businesses for the past seven years, from branding pages, to multimedia videos, social media strategies to customised websites. Talk to dLook for more.

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