More than 200,000 scam reports were issued to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network amounting to losses of $340 million, in 2017.
With increasing numbers of scams, it’s important to stay safe online.
Here are 10 simple steps you can take to protect yourself online:
- Use anti-virus software to protect your computer and devices. Anti-virus software brands include Norton, McAfee, Webroot and Kaspersky. Retail stores selling computers will be able to advise you on appropriate anti-virus software for your needs.
- Keep your computer’s software updated. Often your computer will issue an alert to update your software and these updates are important for preventing security breaches, avoiding passing on viruses via your emails and protecting your documents.
- Back up your files regularly so you have a copy of your records if something goes wrong.
- Create strong passwords. A strong password is more difficult to crack and ideally should include at least 8 characters, upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation marks.
- Never send money to someone you do not know.
- Never open attachments or files from someone you don’t know. Opening files attached to an email from a non-trusted source may infect your computer. If you don’t know the person sending the email or you were not expecting an attachment from someone you know, it pays to give them a call before opening.
- When using social media don’t accept friend requests or invitations from people you don’t know.
- Be careful about sharing private information or personal details on social media.
- Avoid sending or receiving valuable or sensitive information when connected to public Wi-Fi networks that are available in cafés, airports, hotels and libraries.
- If in doubt, don’t. If you are unsure about something online, it pays to be suspicious and check before you click a link or open an attachment. If in doubt, ask someone to help you. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Common online scams
It can be difficult to know what is and isn’t a scam. Some of the most common scams include:
- Request for a short-term loan - Scammers may impersonate someone you know and advise that they’re in dire need of your help and that they will return your loan soon many times over.
- Request to validate your banking login information – These email messages look nearly 100% legitimate, however, your banking representative will NEVER ask you for your banking username or password via email. If you are concerned, contact your bank directly.
- Security software installation – These scams are via a web page and you receive a warning that your computer is infected and that you must immediately install their security software. It’s important to note that companies like Microsoft do not notify you of security problems through web pop up pages.
- You’ve won a prize – These types of messages asking you to click on an ad and give some basic information to collect your prize. Some scammers might request a deposit to secure your prize or ask for your bank account information so that they can deposit your winnings. Do not pay or provide your bank account details.
For further information about common online scams CyberInsure One.
Where to go for help with technology
- Be Connected is an initiative empowering all Australians to thrive in a digital world. It provides online learning resources as well as a network of community partners who offer in-person support so you can develop your digital skills and confidence. Find a local place for friendly help and advice, or join the network to help others.
- Stay Smart Online Guide - The Australian Government Online Safety Guide can help you stay protected online.
- Tech Savvy Seniors Queensland Program
The Tech Savvy Seniors Queensland Program assists seniors with limited or no experience in using technology to learn the digital skills they need to access information online and keep in touch with their families, friends and their community.
At Suncare, we can help you to stay in your own home, connected to your community and in control of your lifestyle.