During 2020, a total of 216,000 reports were made to Scamwatch, with reported losses of around $178 million. By September of 2021, Scamwatch had already recorded over 226,000 reports with recorded losses of over $222 million. Even more frightening, is the fact that this number doesn't include the nearly one third of people who are scammed, but don't tell anyone. Scams are now just a part of everyday online life, but that doesn’t mean we should just let it happen. By making small changes in your behaviour, you can stop would-be scammers in their tracks and keep your private data safe.
Treat unknown callers with suspicion
Always do your own research to independently verify if someone is who they claim to be. If you get a call from a stranger trying to tempt you or scare you into sharing your bank info or credit card details, it’s definitely a scam. Just hang up. Do your own research, find the official number of the organisation they claimed to be from, and call the organisation directly to confirm if they made the call.
Don’t click that link
In 2021 it is increasingly important to never click on a link, whether in an email, a text, or IM, especially if it came from an unknown source. Even if it appears to have been sent by an organisation you know, if you weren’t expecting it, better to be cautious. Watch out for telltale signs like misspelled names, typos and grammatical errors, or suspicious web addresses. To be safe, open a new browser window and type in the address directly so you go to the right website.
Update your passwords
Make sure you’re using strong passwords and keep updating them regularly. Never reuse or share your passwords with anyone.
Use tools to protect your online security
Make sure all your software and devices are updated. Use antivirus and anti-malware tools to keep your defences strong. Scamwatch has a great guide on detecting and protecting yourself from identity theft. It’s definitely a good idea to follow it.
Share the knowledge
Remember, human error is the #1 mistake that hackers exploit to get their hands on confidential data. Knowledge is power, so educate yourself and your loved ones to make sure they stay safe online.
And if you ever do become a target, make sure to let Scamwatch know. Your experience could benefit others and help them protect themselves from scammers.