Hey there, Steve here and welcome to this week’s private eye post. Over the last few months we’ve seen a huge rise in scams all over Australia.
The worst news is that it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to recover your money. In all but the largest of cases, the cost of investigations can make it a pointless exercise.
The best thing you can do is remain vigilant, and protect yourself so that you aren’t the easy target. Below I’ve detailed some of the most common scams we’re seeing, but remember that scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated.
Always make sure someone is who they say they are, and do not part with any of your money or property until you have double-checked (preferably by phone call.)
Scammers work by creating unique but plausible situations that require prompt action on the part of the person being targeted. Remember — if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Disclaimer: This information is for general educational purposes only and may not apply to all situations — everyone is unique after all. For help with an individual situation, please contact us —the first call is free, and we may just be able to put your mind at rest!
#1 Tax Scams
There’s been a huge rise in tax scams over the years and it’s about to ramp up for the upcoming 2023 tax period at the end of June. It seems the nation gets bombarded with phone calls (in-person and pre-recorded messages) and emails that threaten arrest over unpaid tax debts. Most are by phone, and the number may well look like the actual ATO number. The ATO will never threaten you in this way. Hang up the phone, or delete the email. Do not call any number provided in a text or email.
#2 Personal Information Scams
Keep a lock-down on your personal information, as well as your money. There have been some HUGE leaks of personal data — notably the Optus hack.
Just because someone on the phone has your personal information when they call you, doesn’t mean they are who they say they are.
#3 Business Email Compromise Attacks
This one is on the rise, and usually companies don’t realise until it’s far too late. Hackers are spoofing business emails, asking customers to pay accounts with new banking details. Or, they’re sending emails internally to accounts to ask for funds to be transferred somewhere. Imagine working in the accounts department, and getting an email from your CEO asking you to make a payment somewhere.
They’re targeting businesses, organisations, clubs and charities of all sizes. If something strange comes through by email, then you should be extra vigilant.
This isn’t limited to businesses either.
Some scammers are intercepting house deposits sent to conveyancers, or law firms.
In this instance, scammers are relying on you not knowing the usual process, and asking you to send your deposit. Remember, the email will look like it came from the correct person.
One couple were scammed out of $102,000.
The scammers continue to get more and more sophisticated in the nature of their attacks, and with the advent of AI, my prediction is that attacks will increase.
Since COVID, everyone has become much more comfortable with online transactions, so you must take extra care with your information, money and property. Make sure you stay safe.
Follow us on Facebook for more information on scams to avoid and how to get help if you think you need to.
Until next time,