How to Protect Yourself From Scams

Millions of Australians are online and using smart phones every day. While using computers, mobile devices and the internet is incredibly useful, it can also leave us exposed to fraudulent activity. This doesn’t mean we have to be scared to go online or use digital technology – but it does mean we need to be aware so we can protect ourselves.

Types of scams so you know what to look out for:

Romance scams

A scammer will establish a romantic relationship with their victim over the internet and via messaging apps – over a period of weeks, months or even years. They often claim to live overseas or be Australian but travelling. They then use this relationship to fraudulently ask you to send them money.

Investment scams

A scammer will offer to invest your money in a scheme or program that promises unusually high returns. After showing some fake early results, the scammer will then take your money and disappear.

Remote access scams

This is where a scammer tricks you into giving up control of your computer so that they can access it from their location. The main purpose of a remote access scam is to get you to purchase unnecessary software, but it can also expose your personal details to other scammers.

Phishing scams

This is a common type of scam when a scammer sends a fraudulent message disguised as something legitimate (such as an email from a friend or your bank). The aim of the scam is to trick the recipient into giving up personal details, which allow the scammer to access the victim’s finances or personal identity.

Common Phishing scams can include:

  • Voice call – they might claim to be from your bank, internet provider or another organisation. They may say there has been some fraudulent activity or a technical problem.

  • Text message – you could get a text on your smartphone claiming to be from the tax office, bank, insurance company or similar. They may ask you to call a number or click on a web link that could take you to a fake website or install malicious software.

  • Fake web page – they may design a web page that looks identical to the official page of a bank, internet provider, store, etc. The site will ask for your personal information which will then be stolen by the scammer.

  • It can be tricky to spot a fake web page, but here’s what to look for:

    • misspelled web addresses, for example they may use instead of
    • spelling mistakes or poor grammar
    • request to call a mobile phone number
    • request to provide your log in details

  • Fake email – a scammer may design emails to look like they are from a legitimate company, friend, etc. Similar to a text message, they may ask you to call a number or clink on a web link.

    Always check the email address that it came from as this is often a huge clue that the sender is a scammer. For example, the email address may be from [email protected] instead of a legitimate Telstra email like [email protected].

  • Calendar invite – scammers send a calendar invite which gets added as an event in your calendar. On the day of the event you receive a notification that includes a link

There is also plenty of further information available on the following government websites:

If you’d like to learn more about scams please book a lesson with one of our Technology Tutors or register your interest to attend a small group class next year on this topic. You can call our friendly reception team on 3624 2110 or pop by the counter when you next visit us.

How to protect yourself against phishing scams

All phishing scams rely on inattention or natural curiosity of the victim. Always remember:

  • Never click links in unexpected emails or social media messages
  • Never tap a link in a text message on your mobile device
  • Institutions (banks, government, utilities) never ask for your password in an email or text message
  • Be suspicious of emails that have no text, just a single image instead
  • Always check the address when you visit an official website.


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