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Beware Of Scams

Enough Is Enough Of Being Scammed

The combined losses reported to Scamwatch; ReportCyber; the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange, IDCARE, ASIC and other government agencies was at least $3.1 billion in 2022. This is an 80% increase on total losses recorded in 2021.
(Targeting Scams – ACCC)

Disclaimer: Views and suggestions below are my own and may not be accurate or up to date when suggesting what action should be taken when you think you might be being scammed or have been scammed. Please follow the Australian Government website links at the right (bottom if you on a mobile) of this page to further your education on scamming.

There are just too many hard working, hard saving Australians who are becoming victims of scammers, often with possible damaging flow on effects.

  • Leaving some financially and emotionally struggling
  • Fears that we might be next
  • Organisations relying on donations to help those in need often see a drop in giving in times of financial and emotional challenges
  • Our monies could in part be funding terrorism

I have read we are seen as an easy target for scammers. We are seen overall as an affluent society and affluence can produce complacency. We must be on our guard and vigilant. We need to educate ourselves as best as we can to ensure that we are ready for any devious approach to rob us.

I worked at a bank in my early years (1970’s) and when in the position of 1st teller I had the responsibility to make sure the branch had enough cash for our customers daily needs. If it looked like we might run short we would ring up a bank who we had an arrangement with that usually had excess cash. An officer from our bank would go there with a bank cheque in hand and exchange it for cash, sometimes $5,000+! No armoured car required!

Keeping this in mind, I remember a true story that happened in the 70’s which is not unlike what is happening now.

Two ‘bank officers’ entered a branch of another bank and talked to a senior officer. I believe they had rung through first to organise it. They had a bank cheque in hand and came across very genuine. They passed a phone number to the officer and said you can confirm our request by ringing their bank. They rang the bank and the ‘manager’ confirmed that all was good. The bank cheque was then exchanged for cash (I think $10,000).

However the ‘manager’ was not a bank manager at all but was part of the scam. Needless to say the bank cheque was not honoured (presumably a forgery or they had somehow obtained a blank bank cheque!)

NOTE

They appeared genuine. They disarmed any concerns the bank might have had about their identity.

The ‘manager’ confirmed the transfer with the officer during the phone call.

The bank made the crucial error of NOT checking the phone number first in the Yellow Pages. A simple check would have exposed them for who they really were. Thieves, robbers!

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THE ABOVE

I suggest, if anyone sends you a phone number in a text or email or even over the phone or even by letter requesting you to ring a particular number. STOP, THINK and if you have any doubt about it being genuine, go to their business website and ring the number shown on the website.

If you don’t have internet access, phone a family member or friend and ask them to check.

The same applies if they give you an url (web address) to click on, DON’T click the link. If they write, as an example, that they are from Australia Post, ring Australia Post and ask them about the text.

If they say it is extremely urgent to respond then STOP, THINK and if you have any doubt about it being genuine, go to their business website and ring the number shown on the website.

===== 15/01/2024 =====

I read today that scammers are using AI to impersonate voices which they can get from audio content from social media profile or from a voicemail. They then phone someone pretending to be a family member in distress asking for money. It is important to identify the caller first no matter how genuine the voice sounds.

If I received a call like that from someone pretending to my daughter I would ring them back on the number I have in my phone or I would ask them a personal question the scammer could never know eg where did you get your first dog from.

See the Article below for all the details.

SBS Article link

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I just subscribed to receiving email alerts on the latest scams from the National Anti-Scam Centre website ‘Scambusters’. Subscription link.

The last two scam alerts were:

Expecting a delivery during the holiday sales? Stop and think, don’t click the link.

Who’s Really There? (About impersonating scams)

List of all past alerts here

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Arrived in my email box today. Fake Amazon Prime email.

1. Came from this email address – as you can see it is NOT an Amazon domain email address.

Alarm bells ringing!

Amazon scam email

2. Hi Customer are the first 2 words of the email….if I had an account with them it would have been addressed to my name.

They want me to click a link to give information about my payment method.

Alarm bells ringing louder!

Amazon scam email

3. When I mouseover (BUT NOT CLICK) the link, the following email address shows in the bottom LHS corner of my email program (yours might show in a different place). It is a garbage email address not Amazons as you can clearly see below.

Alarm bells deafening.

Amazon Scam Email

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I received a text message which I DID NOT respond to. It was a message pretending to be from Australia Post about a missing parcel. It instructed me to click the link in the message.

  1. I knew I had no lost parcels
  2. The url they wanted for me to click on was something like austpost.ehuudke.com. You can see the rubbish words. Also Australia Post’s domain ending is always com.au.
  3.  If in doubt, ring Australia Post direct from the number on their website and ask them about the text.

 

I strongly suggest if you have not already, check out the following Government websites.

The Little Black Book Of Scams
Scamwatch site (AUS GOV), a PDF downloadable multi-language booklet that helps educate on scams.

Ways to Spot and Avoid Scams
Scamwatch site (AUS GOV)

Report and Recover From Scams
Australian Cyber Security Centre (AUS GOV)

What to do if you’ve been scammed
moneysmart.gov.au

National Anti-Scam Centre