Placeholder Content Image

"I felt duped": 95-year-old loses $1.6 million in bank scam

<p>A 95-year-old has been left feeling "sick" after she was scammed out of $1.6 million by heartless scammers claiming to be a bank. </p> <p>In November last year, Harriet Spring received a call from a man who called himself George Thompson, and said he worked for ING Bank. </p> <p>The man gained Harriet's trust over several months, at the difficult time that the great-grandmother was handling the sale of her mother's house.</p> <p>"Over time, I completely thought he was from ING, I had no reason to believe he wasn't," she told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/today/95-year-old-great-grandmother-loses-more-than-1-million-life-savings-to-scammers/f41540e7-f5c9-4c3b-89a7-ac94dd81bf6a" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Today</em></a>.</p> <p>"George" then convinced Harriet the money from the sale of the house could build interest in an ING account, but it was actually being held by Westpac Bank.</p> <p>"It sounds implausible now, but the scammer had me convinced and I told my mother's bank, Teachers Mutual Bank, that this was an ING fixed term deposit, but it was being put in the Westpac bank," she said.</p> <p>"I put down the BSB number and the account number and what I thought was my name attached to the account, (my mother's bank) pointed out that it seems strange and ING account would be held with Westpac, but they still went ahead and authorised the transfer."</p> <p>When Harriet realised the scammers had taken hold of her life savings totalling $1.6 million, she felt "sick". </p> <p>"Obviously my world just fell out from under me - I just felt sick," she said.</p> <p>"I felt utterly responsible, I felt duped, foolish, ashamed - a lot of shame associated with it and I think that's why a lot of people don't come forward and talk about this kind of thing."</p> <p>Harriet has shared her story as a warning for others to be wary of potential scammers, while also calling on banks to have better protocols in place to stop suspicious transactions from going through. </p> <p>"Someone with basic training from the bank would have known that ING don't bank with any other banks and they should have flagged it," she said.</p> <p>"I believe the reality is that the banks 100 per cent put the blame on the victims and they minimise their own liability."</p> <p>"There should be some sort of system for compensating victims, the banks don't commit the theft, but they certainly drive the getaway car and they need to be held responsible for being complicit with this."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Today </em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

How to avoid 6 common tourist scams

<p>Often when people are on holidays their focus is on relaxing or seeing the sights of the area. But if you don’t keep your wits about you, it’s possible you might end up losing everything to scammers who will do anything to get their hands on your belongings.</p> <p>Here we have six common scams to look out for while you are travelling abroad.</p> <p><strong>Scam 1:</strong> You are in a busy bar in a tourist friendly area when some locals ask where you’re from and offer to buy you a drink. Without thinking, you accept the drink and then find yourself waking up hours later without any of your belongings as you’ve had your drink spiked.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Solution:</em></span> If people seem too friendly, be aware that they may be scammers. Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know, and don’t leave your drink unattended to use the bathroom.</p> <p><strong>Scam 2:</strong> You are about to put your handbag and computer on the conveyer belt to go through the scanner. The people in front of you walk through the metal detector and while one goes through, the other sets off the alarms. They step back into where you are standing and take their time removing wallets and coins from their pockets. While you are waiting for your turn to walk through the metal detector, the other person has taken your belongings and is long gone.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Solution:</em></span> Don’t place your items on the conveyer belt until there is no one else waiting in front of you to go through the metal detector.</p> <p><strong>Scam 3:</strong> In a busy area such as after a concert or a busy night like New Year’s Eve it can be impossible to get public transport or a taxi back to your hotel. A friendly looking guy comes by and offers you a lift for a reasonable fee using his private car. The scam itself can then range from being charged an exorbitant amount when you arrive at your hotel – or you could even find yourself robbed and dropped by the side of the road with no way home.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Solution:</em></span> However tempting it is, never get in the car with an unlicensed taxi driver. This is even more important to note if you are travelling alone.</p> <p><strong>Scam 4:</strong> While you are waiting with your luggage for a train or bus, a passer-by appears to drop their wallet and walk off without noticing. You might try to do the right thing by grabbing the wallet and running after the person to return it. By the time you get back, your luggage is missing.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Solution:</em></span> When travelling alone, never leave your items unattended even if it means you don’t help someone when you normally would. This is especially true in airports where baggage will quickly be confiscated if left alone.</p> <p><strong>Scam 5:</strong> You’re taking in the sights when a couple of men dressed as policemen approach you. They demand to see your wallet and let you know that counterfeit money has been given to tourists in the area. When your wallet is returned it has had much of the contents removed.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Solution:</em></span> Police would never demand to see your wallet. If something doesn’t feel right, suggest that you continue the discussion at the nearest police station as you don’t feel comfortable. Most likely they will not push their luck.</p> <p><strong>Scam 6:</strong> You receive a phone call in your hotel room late at night from someone claiming to be from the front desk. They apologise for the late call but request that you just confirm your credit card details as their system is playing up. You read out the numbers and hang up. Before too long your credit card has rung up a huge bill as this was a scammer calling you, not a staff member.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Solution:</em></span> Organise payment in person by letting the caller know that you will come down to the front desk to discuss it.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Travel Tips

Placeholder Content Image

Kochie's thoughtful act for scam victim

<p>David Koch has given back to a hard-working Aussie who lost her life savings to a convincing scam. </p> <p>For many years, scammers have been using the likeness of Australian celebrities to con people out of their money. </p> <p>Kochie is just one of many high-profile personalities who have had their identities used to run convincing scams, that thousands of people have fallen victim to. </p> <p>The former <em>Sunrise</em> host has often taken to social media to warn people of the illegitimate ads, but it hasn't been enough to stop the scammers in their tracks. </p> <p>In a special <em>7News Spotlight</em> investigation, Kochie joined the team to lift the lid on the multi-billion-dollar scam industry in which fake advertisements featuring well-known celebrities have been used to con more than 600,000 Aussies.</p> <p>“It’s devastating because it’s my reputation on the line,” says Koch.</p> <p>“And these scams are so good, they’re so believable that people who trust me look at me and say, ‘Wow, I’m getting some comfort out of what this bloke is saying,’ and then are ripped off by some scammer from overseas.”</p> <p>Koch is desperately trying to stop this criminal act, saying, “I’ve reported it to the ACCC and ASIC. I’m part of an ACCC case against Meta at the moment surrounding these scam ads.”</p> <p>As part of the investigation, Kochie met Allison, who lost $250,000 when she invested her money in what she thought was a reputable company, fronted by who she believed to be the former <em>Sunrise</em> host.</p> <p>As an avid Port Adelaide supporter, she trusts Koch, who is also the Chairman of the football club.</p> <p>“Port Adelaide members are all part of a big family,” says Koch. “And the fact that these scammers use my association with the club to prey on members is just abhorrent.”</p> <p>After losing her savings, Allison has been struggling to make ends meet, and is on a payment plan so she can stay as a member of the AFL club she loves.</p> <p>After learning of her story, Koch himself has stepped in and ensured she has lifelong membership.</p> <p>“It’s the least we can do,” says Koch to Allison. “Because, football has got to be your haven.”</p> <p>Allison is just one of the many victims of complex scams in Australia, with reporter Sarah Greenhalgh believes millions of dollars have been illegally stolen.</p> <p>“The scammers successfully prey on these people’s unique vulnerabilities and the victims’ lives have changed forever as a result,” she says.</p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News Spotlight</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Australians lose $5,200 a minute to scammers. There’s a simple thing the government could do to reduce this. Why won’t they?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>What if the government was doing everything it could to stop thieves making off with our money, except the one thing that could really work?</p> <p>That’s how it looks when it comes to <a href="https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams">scams</a>, which are attempts to trick us out of our funds, usually by getting us to hand over our identities or bank details or transfer funds.</p> <p>Last year we lost an astonishing <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/scam-losses-decline-but-more-work-to-do-as-australians-lose-27-billion">A$2.74 billion</a> to scammers. That’s more than $5,200 per minute – and that’s only the scams we know about from the 601,000 Australians who made reports. Many more would have kept quiet.</p> <p>If the theft of $5,200 per minute seems over the odds for a country Australia’s size, a comparison with the United Kingdom suggests you are right. In 2022, people in the UK lost <a href="https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/system/files/2023-05/Annual%20Fraud%20Report%202023_0.pdf">£2,300</a> per minute, which is about A$4,400. The UK has two and a half times Australia’s population.</p> <p>It’s as if international scammers, using SMS, phone calls, fake invoices and fake web addresses are targeting Australia, because in other places it’s harder.</p> <p>If we want to cut Australians’ losses, it’s time to look at rules about to come into force in the UK.</p> <h2>Scams up 320% since 2020</h2> <p>The current federal government is doing a lot – <em>almost</em> everything it could. Within a year of taking office, it set up the <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/national-anti-scam-centre">National Anti-Scam Centre</a>, which coordinates intelligence. Just this week, the centre reported that figure of $2.74 billion, which is down 13% on 2022, but up 50% on 2021 and 320% on 2020.</p> <p>It’s planning “<a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-464732">mandatory industry codes</a>” for banks, telecommunication providers and digital platforms.</p> <p>But the code it is proposing for banks, set out in a <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-11/c2023-464732-cp.pdf">consultation paper</a> late last year, is weak when compared to overseas.</p> <h2>Banks are the gatekeepers</h2> <p>Banks matter, because they are nearly always the means by which the money is transferred. Cryptocurrency is now much less used after the banks agreed to limit payments to high risk exchanges.</p> <p>Here’s an example of the role played by banks. A woman the Consumer Action Law Centre is calling <a href="https://consumeraction.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Joint-submission-CALC-CHOICE-ACCAN-31012024-Scams-Mandatory-code-treasury-consultA.pdf">Amelia</a> tried to sell a breast pump on Gumtree.</p> <p>The buyer asked for her bank card number and a one-time PIN and used the code to whisk out $9,100, which was sent overseas. The bank wouldn’t help because she had provided the one-time PIN.</p> <p>Here’s another. A woman the Competition and Consumer Commission is calling <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Targeting%20scams%202022.pdf">Niamh</a> was contacted by someone using the National Australia Bank’s SMS ID. Niamh was told her account was compromised and talked through how to transfer $300,000 to a “secure” account.</p> <p>After she had done it, the scammer told her it was a scam, laughed and said “we are in Brisbane, come find me”.</p> <h2>How bank rules protect scammers</h2> <p>And one more example. Former University of Melbourne academic <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/377766055_Scams_Blaming_the_Victims">Kim Sawyer</a> (that’s his real name, he is prepared to go public) clicked on an ad for “St George Capital” displaying the dragon logo of St. George Bank.</p> <p>He was called back by a man using the name of a real St. George employee, who persuaded him to transfer funds from accounts at the AMP, Citibank and Macquarie to accounts he was told would be in his and his wife’s name at Westpac, ANZ, the Commonwealth and Bendigo Banks.</p> <p>They lost <a href="https://www.afr.com/wealth/personal-finance/i-lost-2-5m-of-my-super-to-scammers-20240423-p5flzp">$2.5 million</a>. Sawyer says none of the banks – those that sent the funds or those that received them – would help him. Some cited “<a href="https://www.choice.com.au/money/financial-planning-and-investing/stock-market-investing/articles/st-george-capital-investment-scam">privacy</a>” reasons.</p> <p>The Consumer Action Law Centre says the banks that transfer the scammed funds routinely tell their customers “it’s nothing to do with us, you transferred the money, we can’t help you”. The banks receiving the funds routinely say “you’re not our customer, we can’t help you”.</p> <p>That’s here. Not in the UK.</p> <h2>UK bank customers get a better deal</h2> <p>In Australia in 2022, only <a href="https://download.asic.gov.au/media/mbhoz0pc/rep761-published-20-april-2023.pdf">13%</a> of attempted scam payments were stopped by banks before they took place. Once scammed, only 2% to 5% of losses (depending on the bank) were reimbursed or compensated.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.psr.org.uk/information-for-consumers/app-fraud-performance-data/">the UK</a>, the top four banks pay out 49% to 73%.</p> <p>And they are about to pay out much more. From October 2024, reimbursement will be compulsory. Where authorised fast payments are made “because of deception by fraudsters”, the banks will have to reimburse <a href="https://www.thomsonreuters.com/en-us/posts/investigation-fraud-and-risk/app-fraud-uk">the lot</a>.</p> <p>Normally the bills will be split <a href="https://www.psr.org.uk/news-and-updates/latest-news/news/psr-confirms-new-requirements-for-app-fraud-reimbursement/">50:50</a> between the bank transferring the funds and the bank receiving them. Unless there’s a need for further investigations, the payments must be made within five days.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.psr.org.uk/media/as3a0xan/sr1-consumer-standard-of-caution-guidance-dec-2023.pdf">only exceptions</a> are where the consumer seeking reimbursement has acted fraudulently or with gross negligence.</p> <p>The idea behind the change – pushed through by the Conservative government now led by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – is that if scams are the banks’ problem, if they are costing them millions at a time, they’ll stop them.</p> <p><a href="https://www.thepost.co.nz/business/350197309/banks-given-fraud-ultimatum">New Zealand</a> is looking at doing the same thing, <a href="https://www.biocatch.com/blog/mas-shared-responsibility-fraud-losses">as is Singapore</a>.</p> <p>But here, the treasury’s discussion paper on its mandatory codes mentions reimbursement <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-11/c2023-464732-cp.pdf">only once</a>. That’s when it talks about what’s happening in the UK. Neither treasury nor the relevant federal minister is proposing it here.</p> <h2>Australia’s approach is softer</h2> <p>Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones is in charge of Australia’s rules.</p> <p>Asked why he wasn’t pushing for compulsory reimbursement here, Jones said on Monday <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/stephen-jones-2022/transcripts/interview-mark-gibson-abc-perth">prevention was better</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p>I think a simplistic approach of just saying, ‘Oh, well, if any loss, if anyone incurs a loss, then the bank always pay’, won’t work. It’ll just make Australia a honeypot for these international crime gangs, because they’ll say, well, ‘Let’s, you know, focus all of our activity on Australia because it’s a victimless crime if banks always pay’.</p> </blockquote> <p>Telling banks to pay would certainly focus the minds of the banks, in the way they are about to be focused in the UK.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ausbanking.org.au/submissions/">Australian Banking Association</a> hasn’t published its submission to the treasury review, but the <a href="https://consumeraction.org.au/scams-mandatory-industry-codes-consultation-paper/">Consumer Action Law Centre</a> has.</p> <p>It says if banks had to reimburse money lost, they’d have more of a reason to keep it safe.</p> <p>In the UK, they are about to find out. If Jones is right, it might be about to become a honeypot for scammers. If he is wrong, his government will leave Australia even further behind when it comes to scams – leaving us thousands more dollars behind per day.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228867/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, Visiting Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australians-lose-5-200-a-minute-to-scammers-theres-a-simple-thing-the-government-could-do-to-reduce-this-why-wont-they-228867">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

What ‘psychological warfare’ tactics do scammers use, and how can you protect yourself?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mike-johnstone-106590">Mike Johnstone</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/georgia-psaroulis-1513050">Georgia Psaroulis</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p>Not a day goes by without a headline <a href="https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjvaym/people-share-worst-scam-stories">about a victim being scammed</a> and losing money. We are constantly warned about new scams and staying safe from cybercriminals. Scamwatch has <a href="https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/research-and-resources/tools-resources/online-resources/spot-the-scam-signs">no shortage of resources</a>, too.</p> <p>So why are people still getting scammed, and sometimes spectacularly so?</p> <p>Scammers use sophisticated psychological techniques. They exploit our deepest human vulnerabilities and bypass rational thought to tap into our emotional responses.</p> <p>This “<a href="https://www.thecut.com/article/amazon-scam-call-ftc-arrest-warrants.html">psychological warfare</a>” coerces victims into making impulsive decisions. Sometimes scammers spread their methods around many potential victims to see who is vulnerable. Other times, criminals focus on a specific person.</p> <p>Let’s unpack some of these psychological techniques, and how you can defend against them.</p> <h2>1. Random phone calls</h2> <p>Scammers start with small requests to establish a sense of commitment. After agreeing to these minor requests, we are more likely to comply with larger demands, driven by a desire to act consistently.</p> <p>The call won’t come from a number in your contacts or one you recognise, but the scammer may pretend to be someone you’ve engaged to work on your house, or perhaps one of your children using a friend’s phone to call you.</p> <p>If it is a scammer, maybe keeping you on the phone for a long time gives them an opportunity to find out things about you or people you know. They can use this info either immediately or at a later date.</p> <h2>2. Creating a sense of urgency</h2> <p>Scammers fabricate scenarios that require immediate action, like claiming a bank account is at risk of closure or an offer is about to expire. This tactic aims to prevent victims from assessing the situation logically or seeking advice, pressuring them into rushed decisions.</p> <p>The scammer creates an artificial situation in which you are frightened into doing something you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Scam calls <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-have-filed-a-case-under-your-name-beware-of-tax-scams-theyll-be-everywhere-this-eofy-162171">alleging to be from the Australian Tax Office</a> (ATO) are a great example. You have a debt to pay (apparently) and things will go badly if you don’t pay <em>right now</em>.</p> <p>Scammers play on your emotions to provoke reactions that cloud judgement. They may threaten legal trouble to instil fear, promise high investment returns to exploit greed, or share fabricated distressing stories to elicit sympathy and financial assistance.</p> <h2>3. Building rapport with casual talk</h2> <p>Through extended conversation, scammers build a psychological commitment to their scheme. No one gets very far by just demanding your password, but it’s natural to be friendly with people who are friendly towards us.</p> <p>After staying on the line for long periods of time, the victim also becomes cognitively fatigued. This not only makes the victim more open to suggestions, but also isolates them from friends or family who might recognise and counteract the scam.</p> <h2>4. Help me to help you</h2> <p>In this case, the scammer creates a situation where they help you to solve a real or imaginary problem (that they actually created). They work their “IT magic” and the problem goes away.</p> <p>Later, they ask you for something you wouldn’t normally do, and you do it because of the “social debt”: they helped you first.</p> <p>For example, a hacker might attack a corporate network, causing it to slow down. Then they call you, pretending to be from your organisation, perhaps as a recent hire not yet on the company’s contact list. They “help” you by turning off the attack, leaving you suitably grateful.</p> <p>Perhaps a week later, they call again and ask for sensitive information, such as the CEO’s password. You <em>know</em> company policy is to not divulge it, but the scammer will ask if you remember them (of course you do) and come up with an excuse for why they really need this password.</p> <p>The balance of the social debt says you will help them.</p> <h2>5. Appealing to authority</h2> <p>By posing as line managers, officials from government agencies, banks, or other authoritative bodies, scammers exploit our natural tendency to obey authority.</p> <p>Such scams operate at varying levels of sophistication. The simple version: your manager messages you with an <em>urgent</em> request to purchase some gift cards and send through their numbers.</p> <p>The complex version: your manager calls and asks to urgently transfer a large sum of money to an account you don’t recognise. You do this because <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/fraudsters-use-ai-to-mimic-ceos-voice-in-unusual-cybercrime-case-11567157402">it sounds exactly</a> like your manager on the phone – but the scammer <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2021/10/14/huge-bank-fraud-uses-deep-fake-voice-tech-to-steal-millions/?sh=1329b80e7559">is using a voice deepfake</a>. In a recent major case in Hong Kong, such a scam even involved a <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2024/02/04/asia/deepfake-cfo-scam-hong-kong-intl-hnk/index.html">deepfake video call</a>.</p> <p>This is deeply challenging because artificial intelligence tools, such as Microsoft’s VALL-E, can create <a href="https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2023/01/microsofts-new-ai-can-simulate-anyones-voice-with-3-seconds-of-audio/">a voice deepfake</a> using just three seconds of sampled audio from a real person.</p> <h2>How can you defend against a scam?</h2> <p>First and foremost, <strong>verify identity</strong>. Find another way to contact the person to verify who they are. For example, you can call a generic number for the business and ask to be connected.</p> <p>In the face of rampant voice deepfakes, it can be helpful to <strong>agree on a “safe word” with your family members</strong>. If they call from an unrecognised number and you don’t hear the safe word just hang up.</p> <p>Watch out for <strong>pressure tactics</strong>. If the conversation is moving too fast, remember that someone else’s problem is not yours to solve. Stop and run the problem past a colleague or family member for a sanity check. A legitimate business will have no problem with you doing this.</p> <p>Lastly, if you are not sure about even the slightest detail, the simplest thing is to hang up or not respond. If you really owe a tax debt, the ATO will write to you.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223959/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mike-johnstone-106590"><em>Mike Johnstone</em></a><em>, Security Researcher, Associate Professor in Resilient Systems, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/georgia-psaroulis-1513050">Georgia Psaroulis</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-psychological-warfare-tactics-do-scammers-use-and-how-can-you-protect-yourself-223959">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

War veteran loses $18,000 to Netflix scam

<p>Shane Arnold, 71, was left with nothing after he fell for an elaborate Netflix scam, allegedly run by a teenager. </p> <p>The war veteran was robbed of $18,000 when he thought he was entitled to a refund after receiving a fake Netflix email.</p> <p>After he entered his personal banking details, the accused scammer allegedly used this information to call Arnold the following day claiming to be a security officer from Commonwealth Bank.</p> <p>"(It was) extremely convincing," Arnold told <em>9News</em>. </p> <p>"He spoke in a posh English accent."</p> <p>Arnold was allegedly told by a 19-year-old, whose voice had been disguised with AI, that his account had been compromised and ordered to put his bank cards in a bag, to be collected by a driver.</p> <p>Hours later, the accused teen who is from Braybrook, Melbourne allegedly withdrew thousands of dollars from ATMs in Braybrook and West Footscray, and purchased dozens of gift cards from Kmart.</p> <p>He also allegedly filled up on fuel, bought a new iPhone, and some strawberry milk and ice cream. </p> <p>The teen has since been charged over the incident, but Arnold is still fighting hard to get his money back. </p> <p>"I've worked for 50-odd years to get that money," he told the publication, adding that he felt "like my heart had been ripped out".</p> <p>The senior also claimed that the bank was partly to blame, and has lodged a report to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) who are currently managing his case. </p> <p>Arnold added that Commonwealth Bank had only offered to reimburse him $1000, and said that everyone who'd been scammed deserved to have their money returned to them.</p> <p>"I hope all those people get their money back," he said.</p> <p>"None of them deserved to be scammed and none of them did anything wrong."</p> <p><em>Images: Nine News</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

"It was devastating": Grandfather loses $1 million in scam before his death

<p>A "vulnerable" and "lonely" grandfather lost over $1 million in a complex scam in the months before he died, with his son now issuing a warning to others. </p> <p>Adrian Heartsch was described by his family as a "frugal" man, who had no experience with online banking before becoming involved in the scam. </p> <p>“Unless he knew exactly what he was paying for – he wouldn’t pay for it,” his son Simon Heartsch told <em>A Current Affair</em>.</p> <p>“I said to him if somebody can scam you, they can scam anybody.”</p> <p>He soon connected with someone online, who called themselves a woman named Vida and charmed him with sweet talk and pet names, and soon earned his trust.</p> <p>“He wasn’t alone, but he was lonely. He had no company, he didn’t even have his dog anymore to talk to,” his son told <em>ACA</em>. “So I guess he’s vulnerable in that way.”</p> <p>The woman convinced Mr Heartsch to send her several Apple gift cards, claiming he would be given over $20 million worth of gold bars or gold bullion in return.</p> <p>She also promised the grandfather that she would come to Australia and live “happily ever after” with him. </p> <p>Simon only discovered the truth about his father's finance and the long-running scam when Adrian landed in hospital. </p> <p>“We brought up these emails that were just gobsmacking,” he said. “The story grew from $300,000 to $600,000 to up and up and up … over a million dollars.”</p> <p>The ruse had been going on for three years, and saw Mr Heartsch buy up to $10,000 worth of Apple gift cards from several shops in a single day. </p> <p>Simon said his father was “mortified” after learning the truth and didn’t want to pursue a case with the police.</p> <p>The scam cost the 77-year-old almost everything, robbing him of his savings, truck and caravan, leaving him with only his home. </p> <p>Shortly after, Mr Heartsch fell “sicker and sicker” as his health deteriorated, and he passed away a month after his family learned of the scam.</p> <p>“It was like all this was the nail in the coffin, it was devastating for him, his whole life savings he’s lost,” said Simon.</p> <p>Adrian's family went searching for answers, and with the help of a cyber security expert, discovered that the scammer was operating out of Ghana in West Africa. </p> <p>Following his father’s death, Simon urged others to watch out for loved ones who may be vulnerable to “horrible” scammers. </p> <p>“They’re ruining peoples’ lives. They’re speeding up people’s deaths,” he said. “They’re preying on the vulnerable.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair </em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

“Unbelievably legitimate”: Deb Knight falls victim to popular scam

<p>Deb Knight has shared how she fell victim to a popular scam, losing $1,200 while trying to get Taylor Swift tickets for her daughter's birthday. </p> <p>Like many people around Australia, the veteran journalist was eager to get her hands on tickets to the highly anticipated Eras Tour as a once in a lifetime surprise for her eight-year-old daughter's birthday present.</p> <p>After missing out on tickets through all official channels, Deb thought hope was lost, until a friend reached out to her. </p> <p>“A really good friend, who I’ve known all my life, contacted me and said, ‘do you still want Taylor Swift tickets?’” Knight told <em>A Current Affair</em>.</p> <p>“It was my daughter’s eighth birthday and getting my hands on these tickets would be the best present ever."</p> <p>“My friend put me in contact with her friend who had the tickets – or so I thought.”</p> <p>Knight had received a phone call from her close friend who said her cousin was selling tickets, but unbeknownst to everyone involved, the friend’s Facebook account had been hacked. </p> <p>Deb promised to pay half the cost of the tickets as a bond, then pay the rest after she had seen the tickets, which she said looked “unbelievably legitimate". </p> <p>Tech expert Trevor Long joined Deb on <em>ACA</em>, and noticed one major error about the fake tickets. </p> <p>“The difference is a genuine Taylor Swift ticket in an Apple Wallet right now does not have that barcode.”</p> <p>Alarm bells started ringing for the veteran journalist when the so-called seller said the payment had not come through, but by then it was too late.</p> <p>Deb contacted her bank but it was too late to get her $1,200 back, and her hunt to find Taylor Swift tickets continued. </p> <p>“I realised I’d been scammed. I felt sick to the stomach, absolutely humiliated. I also felt embarrassed and ashamed,” she said.</p> <p>“I was reluctant to speak publicly about this but I think we’ve got to. We have to normalise it so people feel there’s less of a stigma about it."</p> <p>“It happens to everyone, even Deb Knight – it’s disgusting, what’s happening, so something needs to be done.”</p> <p>Police have warned Swifties who missed out on tickets to the singer’s upcoming tour not to fall prey to ticketing scams, and only to purchase tickets through official channels such as Ticketek marketplace. </p> <p>Since tickets for the Eras tour went on sale last June, and subsequently sold out in record timing, Victoria Police said there had been more than 250 reports of ticketing scams for Taylor Swift shows alone.</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

How to protect yourself from cyber-scammers over the festive period

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachael-medhurst-1408437">Rachael Medhurst</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-wales-1586">University of South Wales</a></em></p> <p>The festive season is a time for joy, family and festive cheer. However, it’s also a prime target for cybercriminals. As online shopping ramps up, so does the risk of falling prey to cyber-attacks. That’s why it’s crucial to be extra vigilant about your <a href="https://blog.tctg.co.uk/12-cyber-security-tips-of-christmas">cybersecurity</a> during this time.</p> <p>Here are some essential tips to safeguard yourself and your data during the festive period:</p> <h2>Phishing</h2> <p>Phishing is when criminals use scam emails, text messages or phone calls to trick their victims. Their <a href="https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/phishing-scams">goal</a> is often to make you visit a certain website, which may download a virus on to your computer, or steal bank details or other personal data.</p> <p>This type of scam tends to <a href="https://www.egress.com/blog/phishing/holiday-phishing-scam-guide">increase</a> at this time due to the amount of people having bought or received new gadgets and technology.</p> <p>Look out for there being no direct reference to your name in any communications, with wording such as “Dear Sir/Madam” or other terms such as “valued customer” being used instead. Grammar and spelling mistakes are also often present.</p> <p>Be wary of any suspicious links or attachments within emails too, and don’t click them. It’s better to contact the company directly to check if the message is genuine. You can also <a href="https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/phishing-scams">report</a> suspicious messages and phishing scams to the government’s National Cyber Security Centre.</p> <h2>Shopping safely online</h2> <p>The convenience of online shopping is undeniable, especially during the festive season. However, it’s crucial to prioritise your security when buying online.</p> <p>Before entering your personal and financial information on any website, ensure it’s legitimate and secure. Look for the “https” in the address bar and a <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-vast-majority-of-us-have-no-idea-what-the-padlock-icon-on-our-internet-browser-is-and-its-putting-us-at-risk-216581">padlock</a> icon, which indicates a secure and encrypted connection.</p> <p>When creating passwords for online shopping accounts, use strong, unique combinations of letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, as a breach on one site could compromise all your others.</p> <p>As with shopping in the real world, be cautious when encountering offers that are significantly below usual prices or which make extravagant promises. Always conduct thorough research on the seller and product before making a purchase. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.</p> <p>And if you are out shopping in towns or city centres, there will often be a large number of public wifi options available to you. However, criminals can intercept the data that is transferred across such open and unsecured wifi. So, avoid using public wifi where possible, especially when conducting any financial transactions.</p> <h2>Social media</h2> <p>While social media platforms provide people with a means to keep in touch with family and friends over the festive period, they are often a goldmine for <a href="https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-spot-a-social-media-scam-aMtwF3u1XKGt">scams</a> and malware (software designed to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorised access to a computer). In the spirit of the festive season, people often share an abundance of personal information on social media, often without considering the potential consequences.</p> <p>This trove of data can make people vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Scammers can exploit this information to gain unauthorised access to social media accounts, steal personal information, or even commit identity theft. To protect yourself, be mindful of what you share.</p> <p>Be wary when interacting with posts and direct messages, especially if they contain suspicious links or attachments. Before clicking on anything, hover over the link to verify its destination. If it shows a website you don’t recognise or seems unrelated to the message, do not click on it. If you receive a message from someone you know but the content seems strange or out of character, contact them directly through a trusted channel to verify its authenticity.</p> <p>Likewise, be wary of messages containing urgent requests for money or personal information from businesses. Genuine organisations will never solicit sensitive details through social media.</p> <p>There are many buy and sell platforms available on social media. But while such platforms can be a great place to find a unique gift, it is also important to remember that not all sellers may be legitimate. So, it’s vital that you don’t share your bank details. If the seller sends a link to purchase the item, do not use it. When meeting to collect an item, it’s generally safer to use cash rather than transferring funds electronically.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/aO858HyFbKI?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Advice for staying safe online.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Package delivery scams</h2> <p>As well as being a time for giving and receiving gifts, the festive season is also ripe for cybercriminals to exploit the excitement surrounding <a href="https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/about-us1/media/press-releases/scams-linked-to-parcel-deliveries-come-top-in-2023/">package deliveries</a>.</p> <p>Scammers often pose as legitimate delivery companies, sending emails or text messages claiming that a delivery attempt was unsuccessful or requiring additional fees for processing, or even customs clearance. Typically, these messages contain links or phone numbers that, when clicked or called, lead to fake websites or automated phone systems designed to collect personal information or payments.</p> <p>To protect yourself, always verify the legitimacy of any delivery notifications you receive. Check the sender’s email address or phone number against the official contact information for the delivery company. If the information doesn’t match or seems suspicious, don’t click any links or provide personal details.</p> <p>Legitimate delivery companies will never ask for upfront payment or sensitive information through unsolicited messages or calls.</p> <p>Remember, cybercriminals are skilled at manipulating the festive spirit to their advantage. Stay vigilant, exercise caution, and don’t let your excitement for gifts and deliveries compromise your cybersecurity.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218294/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachael-medhurst-1408437"><em>Rachael Medhurst</em></a><em>, Course Leader and Senior Lecturer in Cyber Security NCSA, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-wales-1586">University of South Wales</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-cyber-scammers-over-the-festive-period-218294">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Aussie grandma and former Greens candidate jailed in Japan claims she was scammed

<p>Donna Nelson, a 57-year-old Perth grandmother, has found herself entangled in a nightmarish situation in a Japanese prison, accused of a crime she vehemently denies.</p> <p>Nelson, an Aboriginal health advocate and former Greens candidate, has been incarcerated for nearly a year without a trial date set, facing allegations of attempting to smuggle two kilograms of meth into Japan. However, her plight is not as straightforward as it may seem, and her family and legal team are tirelessly fighting to clear her name.</p> <p>The ordeal began on January 4, when Nelson was arrested at Narita Airport in Tokyo. Authorities claimed to have discovered drugs concealed within a false compartment in her luggage. According to the prosecution, a customs officer suspected her of acting suspiciously. But the narrative has taken a complex turn as Nelson's defence team unveiled a shocking revelation: she alleges she was deceived and manipulated by a Nigerian scammer who had groomed her for two years.</p> <p>Since her arrest, Nelson has been confined to Chibu prison, located an hour outside Tokyo. Her living conditions are appalling; she spends 23 hours a day isolated in her cell, showers are allowed only every three days, and communication with other inmates and visitors is strictly prohibited. This form of treatment is a reflection of Japan's infamous "hostage justice" strategy, aimed at coercing confessions from detainees.</p> <p>The only individuals granted access to Nelson are her lawyers, Australian embassy representatives, and a pastor. Legal representatives have identified a significant issue with translation throughout the case, and it could very well hinge on an inaccurate translation by the customs officer at the time of her arrest.</p> <p>Rie Nishida from Shinjuku International Law Firm, one of Nelson's lawyers, explained, "The main evidence from the prosecution is mainly a customs officer who said she acted suspiciously. There's a lot of mistranslation that's also the difficulty in this case."</p> <p>This mistranslation issue is not trivial; it extends to the messages exchanged between Nelson and the man she believed she had a romantic connection with, who ultimately turned out to be a scammer.</p> <p>Matthew Owens, another member of the legal team and a translator for the case, noted, "Some of them were completely wrongly translated, so we had to re-translate those messages and submit them back to the prosecutor."</p> <p>Nelson remains steadfast in her conviction that she is innocent of the accusations against her. Her lawyer,  Owens, relayed her message, saying, "Donna wants to say that she is going to be able to prove her innocence, she's 100 per cent confident of that, and she wants everyone in Australia and the world to know she is innocent."</p> <p>If found guilty, Nelson could face a harrowing 20-year sentence in a Japanese prison, a terrifying prospect for both her and her family. Her five daughters and grandchildren are distraught, but they are not giving up the fight to prove her innocence. They believe they have evidence to substantiate the claim that she was scammed and unjustly accused.</p> <p><em>Image: Australian Greens</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

1 in 6 older adults fall victim to impersonation scams

<p>More older adults are likely to fall victim to scams than are currently recognised according to new US research. The problems are global. </p> <div class="copy"> <p>A research team from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, US, says older Americans who aren’t cognitively impeded, are also at risk.  </p> <p>In their study <a href="https://10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.35319" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">published</a> today in <em>JAMA Network Open</em>, the group reports on a behavioural experiment where they targeted 644 adults aged 64-104 in Rush’s Memory and Aging Project – a local scheme that draws on participants from metropolitan Chicago to participate in research – with a pitch mimicking a real-world impersonation scam. </p> <p>The study’s fictitious ‘US Retirement Protection Task Force’ pitched itself to participants as a government social security initiative.  </p> <p>This USRPTF told participants via either post, email or a telephone call there’d been irregular activity on their Medicare or social security file and the inquiry was a routine account security check. As part of this, the fake agency asked participants to call a telephone hotline or login to a provided website to provide their details.  </p> <p>Over two-thirds of the study failed to respond to any attempts to obtain information by the phoney scheme.  </p> <p>The remainder were evenly split by either responding to requests for contact, but expressing scepticism at the authenticity of the USRPTF, or by responding and engaging with the request for information.  </p> <p>Those who were engaged with the request for information, but expressed doubts, were also those with the highest cognitive performance, and lowest proportion of dementia. They were also the most financially literate participants, while those who provided their details had the lowest literacy. </p> <p>Those who provided details were also found to have the lowest scam awareness of all participants.  </p> <p>Among this group, 1 in 10 willingly provided personal information and 1 in 5 provided details of their social security number.  </p> <p>“If extrapolated to a population level, these numbers are astounding and suggest that a very large number of older adults are at risk of victimisation,” the authors say. </p> <p>They also note that, given the use of a fictitious US government organisation name, the number of people vulnerable to well-organised scams is likely much higher.  </p> <p>Last year, the US National Council on Aging reported 92,371 older Americans were defrauded of a total of US$1.7 billion. Most were victims of government department impersonation, sweepstakes and robocall scams. Often such scams will simply demand payment while ‘spoofing’ the phone number of a government agency to add the veil of legitimacy. </p> <p>It’s a similar story around the world. This year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found Australians lost a record $3.1 billion last year, mostly via phone scams. Australians over 65 years of age accounted for a quarter of losses and reports.  </p> <p>The UK’s Action Fraud initiative found Britons lost about ₤2.35 billion in the 2020/21 financial year, with those aged 50-69 most susceptible to falling victim.  </p> <div> <p align="center"><noscript data-spai="1">&amp;lt;img decoding="async" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-198773" src="https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/spai/q_lossy+ret_img+to_auto/cosmosmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Issue-100-embed.jpg" data-spai-egr="1" alt="Subscribe to our quarterly print magazine" width="600" height="154" title="1 in 6 older adults fall victim to impersonation scams 2"&amp;gt;</noscript></p> </div> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/society/1-in-6-older-adults-fall-victim-to-impersonation-scams/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="null">Cosmos</a>. </em></p> </div>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

Hilarious reason dad couldn't be fooled by online scam

<p>One savvy dad has outwitted a scammer who posed as his daughter, after the scammer made one hilarious error. </p> <p>Ian Whitworth, a dad from Sydney, took to his LinkedIn page to share the message a scammer texted him in a classic phishing scam that targets parents. </p> <p>He shared the photo of what he thought was the "funniest phishing text any parent has ever received".</p> <p>The text read, "Hey dad, dropped my phone in the sink while doing the dishes. Its unresponsive this is my new number for now just text me here x."</p> <p>Despite the terrible grammar and punctuation that would immediately alert anyone to the possibility of a scam, it was something else that caught the dad's attention. </p> <p>Instead, Whitworth said it was the fact his daughter would never do the chore mentioned by the scammers.</p> <p>Still, he thought it was worth sharing a photo of the text in a bid to warn others, which he uploaded along with the comment, "Cybersecurity update. I just got this."</p> <p>"Perhaps the funniest phishing txt any parent has ever received. 'Doing the dishes', yeah, for sure."</p> <p>In a reply to one of the people who commented on his post, Whitworth joked that his daughter "at age four emerged from my parents' kitchen with a shocked look on her face. 'What's pop doing?'. He was washing up in the sink."</p> <p>Another commenter wrote, "Haha! There is NO WAY this is from my son or daughter, that's for sure."</p> <p>Another commenter said the giveaway that it wasn't from his own child was that they didn't immediately ask for money, to which Whitworth replied, "Ha, yeah, the phishers are like the seven step ladder of confidence before the money issue gets raised. Actual kids: MONEY NOW."</p> <p>According to the federal government's Scamwatch website run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the "Friends/Family Hi Mum" impersonation scam was common.</p> <p>"Scammers send messages pretending to be a family member or a friend desperate for money," it said.</p> <p>"They say they have a new phone and they need you to pay money to help them out of a crisis."</p> <p>Scamwatch warns: "Don't assume a person you are dealing with is who they say they are" and offers the following advice.</p> <p>"If someone you know sends a message to say they have a new phone number, try to call them on the existing number you have for them, or message them on the new number with a question only they would know the answer to," it said.</p> <p>"That way you will know if they are who they say they are."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / LinkedIn</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

"Ignore, delete and report": Cruel Medicare scam on the rise

<p>The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch has warned Aussies against a suspicious Medicare email going around claiming that their services have been suspended. </p> <p>The email states that Medicare services have been suspended because of incomplete customer medical records and contains a link for them to update their medical records to access the service. </p> <p>“Fake emails impersonating Medicare are doing the rounds claiming Medicare services have been suspended," a spokesperson for the consumer watchdog wrote in a tweet.</p> <p>“Ignore the email and the instruction to reactivate your Medicare services — it’s a scam.”</p> <p>"Ignore, delete, and report to Scamwatch." </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/scamalert?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#scamalert</a>: Fake emails impersonating Medicare are doing the rounds claiming Medicare services have been suspended. <br />Ignore the email and the instruction to reactivate your Medicare services - it's a scam. <br />Ignore, delete, and report to Scamwatch <a href="https://t.co/qPicjZTOSW">https://t.co/qPicjZTOSW</a> <a href="https://t.co/8UhY7JnlFk">pic.twitter.com/8UhY7JnlFk</a></p> <p>— NASC Scamwatch (@Scamwatch_gov) <a href="https://twitter.com/Scamwatch_gov/status/1689849418793566208?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 11, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>Services Australia also advised customers to beware of emails and texts that sound urgent, make promises of financial benefit, and threaten with fines, debts or jail. </p> <p>“If you’ve clicked on a suspicious link or given your personal information to a scammer, call our <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/phone-us?context=64107" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk</a>,” the website states. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

Facebook Messenger scams are on the rise – here’s how to protect yourself

<p><strong>Facebook Messenger scams prey on our vulnerabilities</strong></p> <p>Scams through Facebook’s Messenger platform are being reported at higher rates than ever before, according to AARP, citing its own data as well as that of the government. Since Facebook’s early days, cybercriminals have been mining Facebook’s direct-messaging capabilities to scam unsuspecting victims out of money. One of the earliest Facebook Messenger scams involved a message, purportedly from a friend, claiming they were stuck in a foreign country and in desperate need of immediate financial assistance to get out. It wasn’t really the friend, however, but rather a scammer who had hacked into the friend’s account. </p> <p>Imposter scams such as “the friend in a foreign country” have evolved and proliferated over the years. The common thread is the scammer either creates an account impersonating an actual Facebook account or hacks into an existing Facebook account. In either case, the scammer then uses the fake/hacked account to send private messages to the account holder’s friends that elicit either money or personal information. The messages vary, but all are designed to prey on our human vulnerabilities, including:</p> <ul> <li>the desire to be a “hero”</li> <li>the desire to appear “generous”</li> <li>the desire to win “free money”</li> <li>the desire to be loved and admired</li> <li>the desire to avoid shame or punishment</li> </ul> <p>If a scammer tries to message you, report them, Facebook advises, but that begs the larger question of how does one recognise a Facebook Messenger scam?</p> <p><strong>Current Messenger Facebook scams</strong></p> <p>According to Facebook and our cybersecurity experts, here are the most common Facebook Messenger scams today:</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Romance scams</em></span>. Preying on our desire to be loved and admired, romance scammers appear as attractive strangers with sad stories and a desire to love and be loved. The most effective romance scammers will friend a number of mutual friends before reaching out to any of them, in an attempt to make themselves seem less like strangers and more like people in the same social network. Many use photos they’ve stolen off the Internet and many pose as members of the military or as doctors, in an attempt to inspire trust, admiration, and even authority. What they all have in common is they can’t meet you just yet because they’re somewhere far away, and although it may take a bit of time, even as much as several weeks, they will eventually ask you to send money so that they can come to see you.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Lottery scams</em></span>. Preying on our desire for “free money,” lottery scammers appear as friends or organisations who are thrilled to tell you you’ve won money in some lottery or contest. The common thread? It’s a contest you have no recollection of having entered and to get the prize, you’ll have to either pay a fee or “refundable” advance or provide personal information.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Inheritance scams</em></span>. Also preying on our desire for free money, inheritance scammers claim to be lawyers or others who represent someone who has died and supposedly left you their estate or some portion of it – but first, you’ll have to fork over some money or personal information.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Loan scams</em></span>. Another variation on the “free money” theme is the loan scam, whereby the scammer promises low-interest loans with no money down – except for a “refundable” application fee. Facebook points out that loan scammers may send messages via Messenger and also leave posts and comments on Pages and in Groups to legitimise themselves. However, legitimate lenders wouldn’t offer loans via Facebook Messenger, nor would they ask you for money to proceed with a loan application.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Donation scams</em></span>. Facebook specifically warns users to watch out for “famous people” or people claiming to represent a charity hitting them up for a donation. Donation scams, which are easy money for a scammer because they are a direct request for payment, prey on our desire to be perceived, or to perceive ourselves, as generous.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>“Hey, is this you?” scams</em></span>. Consumer Affairs warns of this “phishing scam” that uses the threat of shame to goad you into giving up personal information. The scammer hacks into one of your Facebook friend’s Messenger accounts and sends you a video, asking if it’s really you in the video, and implying there’s something in the video that could embarrass you. If you ever get a message like this, Consumer Affairs urges you to ignore and delete it to avoid giving away personal information or introducing a virus onto your computer.</p> <p><strong>Red flags to watch out for</strong></p> <p>Unfortunately, Facebook Messenger scams evolve rapidly (as soon as we suss them out, there are several more to replace them). So, it’s a good idea to be aware of these warning signs that we culled from our experts:</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Someone is asking you for money</em></span>. While Facebook warns specifically against strangers asking for money, Rachel Wilson, investigative coordinator for The Smith Investigation Agency, points out to Reader’s Digest that any time anyone asks you for money over Messenger, it’s immediately suspect. “If friends or family ask you to help them in an emergency, always call to speak with them personally to confirm that the message originated with them.”</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Someone is getting a little too personal</em></span>. When someone sends you a message requesting personal information, especially financial information, it should be considered suspicious, advises Sean Messier, credit industry analyst for Credit Card Insider. Messier suggests not revealing any such information until you’re certain the message-sender is who they claim to be, but it’s probably also a good idea to never reveal any such information over Messenger at all.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Someone is offering something for free</em></span>. You know how they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Well, there’s no such thing as free money on Facebook, points out Robert Siciliano, security expert. This is true for any kind of “free money” Messenger message, including those involving lotteries, loans, contest winnings, inheritances, lost bank accounts, and reimbursements of money owed.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Someone who wants to take the conversation off Facebook (to text or email, etc)</em></span>. Facebook warns against taking conversations off Facebook unless you’re absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the message sender is who they say they are.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Messages that seem out of character for the sender</em></span>. If a message seems “out of the norm” for the sender, trust your instincts and ignore it. This is doubly true if the message includes an attachment. Be very wary of opening attachments in general, and particularly if something seems “off” about the message or the sender.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Messages rife with spelling and grammatical errors</em></span>. Facebook points out that when a message is filled with typos and grammatical errors, you should have your guard up. A single typo is one thing, but things like the misspelling of names and places are a big red flag.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Messages from new accounts with few friends</em></span>. Roger Thompson, CEO of Thompson Cybersecurity Labs, points out that new accounts with few friends should always be considered suspicious until confirmed otherwise. Friend requests from such accounts and from duplicate friend accounts should be considered suspect as well.</p> <p>To avoid getting hacked (and used by a cybercriminal in an imposter scam), Wilson recommends updating your social media passwords regularly and always use two-factor authentication. She also notes that with Facebook use increasing among seniors, it would be a good deed to speak to older family members about Messenger scams and how to avoid them.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/science-technology/facebook-messenger-scams-are-on-the-rise-heres-how-to-protect-yourself" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Technology

Placeholder Content Image

Australia can learn from the UK’s experience by making banks pay for scam losses

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/muhammad-al-mamun-1454182">Muhammad Al Mamun</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>British banks will soon be required to reimburse customers who fall victim to authorised push payment fraud – where a scammer convinces you to authorise a payment, generally by masquerading as a legitimate business or person.</p> <p>The new rules from the UK’s <a href="https://www.psr.org.uk/">Payment Systems Regulator</a> are intended to incentivise all businesses involved in payments to take more action against scam activity, with reimbursement costs split 50:50 between the bank that sends and the bank that receives the payment.</p> <p>There is a strong case that banks and other payment providers in Australia (and New Zealand) should be made to do the same. Scam-related losses are soaring, and banks are falling short of detecting, stopping and recovering losses.</p> <p>In 2022 Australians <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Targeting%20scams%202022.pdf">lost at least $3.1 billion</a> to scams – an 80% increase on 2021. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the actual losses were far higher, because about 30% of victims don’t report their loss to anyone.</p> <p>While the biggest losses came from investment scams (totalling $1.5 billion), payment redirection scams – where a scammer impersonates a business or individual asking for payment – amounted to A$224 million.</p> <p>Among the most vulnerable groups are older people (25% of losses were reported by those aged 65+), people with a disability (6% of reported losses), and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities (almost 10% of reported losses).</p> <h2>What are Australian banks doing?</h2> <p>No regulations oblige Australian banks to reimburse scam victims, though some banks have self-governed reimbursement policies.</p> <p>While banks have dedicated fraud teams to prevent scams and support victims, the most recent review of the four major banks’ processes by the Australian Investments and Securities Commission, <a href="https://download.asic.gov.au/media/mbhoz0pc/rep761-published-20-april-2023.pdf">published in April</a>, says they detected and stopped just 13% of scam payments.</p> <p>Reimbursement policies and practices varied from bank to bank but the overall rate was low – ranging from 2% to 5%.</p> <p>The review described the banks’ approaches to liability, reimbursement and compensation as “inconsistent and generally very narrow”.</p> <h2>Why the UK has made banks responsible</h2> <p>The greater obligations being imposed on British banks follows attempts by the UK’s <a href="https://www.psr.org.uk/">Payment Systems Regulator</a> to improve consumer protections through a voluntary code of conduct.</p> <p>Introduced in May 2019, this voluntary code was intended, under certain conditions, to ensure the reimbursement of victims of “authorised push payment” scams. These conditions included the customer taking reasonable care and notifying any scam incident to the bank.</p> <p>It had modest success, with <a href="https://www.psr.org.uk/news-and-updates/latest-news/news/psr-sets-out-proposals-to-give-greater-protection-against-app-scams/">46% of reported scam losses</a> being reimbursed between 2020 and 2022.</p> <p>But the Payment Systems Regulator wants 95%. So it has pressed for a mandatory reimbursement scheme. Under the new provisions money must be reimbursed within 48 hours of a fraud being reported.</p> <p>The idea is to get banks to put more effort into detecting and preventing scams.</p> <p>Overall, the UK has accepted the need for a more regimented regulatory approach over a market-based one.</p> <h2>A more pragmatic approach needed</h2> <p>While the Australian Investments and Securities Commission’s own reports have revealed the sorry state of scam prevention, management, and reimbursement practices at major banks, the regulatory body is still not walking in the footsteps of the UK. It is instead advising banks to improve their governance and scam management practices.</p> <p>The Australian Banking Association, which represents the banking sector, has strongly argued against regulation supporting mandatory reimbursement. It has even suggested this <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/big-banks-fight-push-for-billions-of-dollars-in-scam-refunds-20220131-p59sp3.html">could increase scamming losses</a> because of the risk customers will take less care if they know any losses will be covered by their bank. It has called for greater personal responsibility in preventing scam losses.</p> <p>But such an argument ignores the effects of the digitisation push by financial service providers, which has made scamming so much easier. Scammers are also becoming more sophisticated.</p> <p>The statistics speak for themselves. Scamming losses are increasing. Recovery rates are meagre. A more pragmatic approach based on this reality and banks’ fiduciary responsibilities is needed.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/209585/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/muhammad-al-mamun-1454182">Muhammad Al Mamun</a>, Senior Lecturer in Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australia-can-learn-from-the-uks-experience-by-making-banks-pay-for-scam-losses-209585">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Don't get caught out: 6 holiday scams ripping off travellers

<p>If you’re planning to take a trip across the world soon, then be warned, as there is an influx of new holiday scams affecting tourists as they travel to their dream break.</p> <p>Holiday-makers have money to spend and relaxation on their minds, which is why they are seen as easy targets for con artists.</p> <p>UK-based consumer group <a href="https://www.which.co.uk/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Which?</a> has listed the six most common frauds travellers need to be aware of, along with tips on how to avoid getting scammed, <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Sun</a></em> reported.</p> <p>So, if you’re planning a trip abroad, here are the things you need to watch out for:</p> <p><strong>1. Accommodation booking scams</strong></p> <p>While the introduction of the internet has been a blessing in terms of ease, it’s also made it easier for scammers to lure you into their traps. With the growth of online holiday bookings, fraudsters often need nothing more than a few fake pictures to lure their victims.</p> <p>A common scam is one that includes picturesque photographs of holiday rentals that don’t seem to exist, advertised at affordable price points. The deals were often advertised on mainstream websites but asked those who were interested in booking to contact them via email, rather than use the site’s own booking system.</p> <p>Bookers were then sent a link to a convincing payment page, which suggested the payment hadn’t cleared. They then ask for a bank transfer instead.</p> <p><strong>How to protect yourself: </strong>Do your research. Google the property to see if it shows up on other reputable websites to check its authenticity. You could use Google Maps and Street View to see if the accommodation actually exists. Also, never pay by bank transfer.</p> <p><strong>2. Dodgy flight deals</strong></p> <p>Con artists have created fake airline websites that advertise budget deals on long haul flights that leave their victims high and dry.</p> <p>The UK government’s fraud agency has reported a recent surge of scams targeting those who are travelling to Asia, Africa and the Middle East.</p> <p>In many instances, tickets were purchased with stolen credit cards and then sold to unsuspecting victims, complete with a reference number.</p> <p>But tickets were then cancelled after the credit card was reported as stolen, leaving the victims out of pocket and nothing to show for it.</p> <p><strong>How to protect yourself:</strong> Book tickets through trusted agencies.</p> <p><strong>3. Wi-Fi hacks</strong></p> <p>It’s become human instinct to try and find Wi-Fi wherever you go, and the same applies when travellers land at airports.</p> <p>While it’s important to stay connected in order to get in touch with friends and family, there is a risk involved. Fraudsters have set up their own free networks in airports and use them to gain free information about anyone that logs on.</p> <p>Many passengers have been tricked into entering their credit card details before logging on.</p> <p><strong>How to protect yourself:</strong> Ask airport staff about the real Wi-Fi connection to make sure it’s the real deal and be on the lookout for connections that don’t ask for passwords straight away. Also, if you are asked for confidential information then provide fake details where possible.</p> <p><strong>4. “Free” holidays</strong></p> <p>This decade-long scam has been one that con artists have perfected throughout the years. Back in the day, people would be pressured into buying timeshares after accepting a complimentary break.</p> <p>Now, the con is conducted through scratch cards and other fake competitions.</p> <p>In one example of the scam, around 500 British travellers in Spain’s Costa del Sol have been scammed of around $27.5 million in the last year alone.</p> <p><strong>How to protect yourself:</strong> Refuse all offers of free holidays because if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.</p> <p>Do you know of any other travel scams? Let us know in the comments below.</p> <p><strong>5. Document fraud</strong></p> <p>Over the years, the internet has seen a growth in websites selling fake travel visas and other important documents needed to visit foreign countries.</p> <p>A few cases were found to not be conducting illegal activity but were responsible for reselling documents at a huge premium compared to official channels.</p> <p>Some common examples included websites selling the European Health Insurance Card and US visa (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation, or ESTA) documents.</p> <p>While the sites looked extremely convincing, they had nothing to do with the governments of the countries they claimed to represent.</p> <p>According to Which?, out of the top 20 search results for “ESTA visa” over half were unofficial.</p> <p><strong>How to protect yourself:</strong> Follow links to official government websites through the Department of Foreign Affairs website.</p> <p><strong>6. Fake tickets</strong></p> <p>It’s no secret that music concerts and major sporting events are on top of the list of potential scams, but travellers are now falling victim to fake packages to international events and are only finding out the true worth of their ticket once they arrive in the country.</p> <p>The FIFA World Cup in Russia was one example where countless websites offered travel packages including tickets when the only tickets that were considered valid and authentic were the ones purchased directly from FIFA themselves.</p> <p>Scammers love to lure desperate fans with fake tickets, as they know the demand is high and it’s easy to trap people who are willing to go the extra mile for a ticket to their chosen event.</p> <p><strong>How to protect yourself:</strong> Make sure the tickets you are purchasing are from legitimate websites and web pages that start with “https” and have the padlock symbol in the URL bar. And if you’re on the hunt for second-hand tickets, then do a quick check if whether or not resale is allowed, as some tickets are only valid for the original buyer.</p> <p>“Criminals are finding ever more sophisticated ways to dupe holiday-makers, both in the booking process and when they’re on the holiday itself,” Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said.</p> <p>“If something seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is. Don’t hand your money over until you can be sure it’s the real deal.”</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

Placeholder Content Image

Get-rich-quick schemes, pyramids and ponzis: five signs you’re being scammed

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bomikazi-zeka-680577">Bomikazi Ze<em>ka</em></a><em>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/abdul-latif-alhassan-1390159">Abdul Latif Alhassan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-cape-town-691">University of Cape Town</a></em></p> <p>Consumers are under a lot of financial strain. The <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/09/cost-of-living-crisis-global-impact/">World Economic Forum</a> reports that the cost-of-living crisis is affecting people across the globe. With food and fuel prices rising, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep financially afloat. On top of that, salaries <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/workers-pay-globally-hasnt-kept-up-with-inflation-e6df92d">aren’t keeping up with inflation</a>, making it more difficult to save and build wealth.</p> <p>It’s during such times of economic difficulty and uncertainty that fraudsters lure unsuspecting consumers into “<a href="https://www.sabric.co.za/">get-rich-quick</a>” schemes, offering <a href="https://www.sabric.co.za/stay-safe/ponzi-pyramid-schemes/">an avenue to make easy money</a> by investing in a “lucrative” financial opportunity.</p> <p>Nothing beats the prospect of making easy money, and every now and again there seems to be a “get-rich-quick” scheme circulating on WhatsApp or on social media that seems legitimate. But it’s not.</p> <p>Our research interests centre on financial systems in emerging economies, and we advocate for financial inclusion and empowering marginalised communities through financial literacy and financial planning. We use our academic platform to share our expertise on finance, including common financial traps people should steer clear of.</p> <p>“Get-rich-quick” schemes are one such trap. They’re also sometimes called ponzi or pyramid schemes. The schemes are a form of <a href="https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/financial-fraud">financial fraud</a>. The people running them take money through deception: the misrepresentation of information and identity. They promise financial benefits that don’t exist.</p> <p>You should avoid them because, more often than not, they are bogus and fraudulent business ventures.</p> <p>There have been some massive fraud schemes over the past 30 years. In the early 1990s, <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/mmm-global-russian-ponzi-scheme-from-1990s-reborn-and-now-spreading-like-wildfire-in-africa-a7333366.html">MMM Global</a> - one of the world’s largest and most notorious ponzi schemes - defrauded up to 40 million people, who lost an estimated $10 billion. Ponzi schemes have since resurfaced in different forms in <a href="https://www.iol.co.za/weekend-argus/news/ponzi-scheme-investigated-as-some-victims-lost-as-much-as-r200-000-c3c3633c-2abb-4dd4-b668-a5ea608deb41">South Africa</a>, <a href="https://guardian.ng/business-services/nigerians-lose-over-n911b-to-ponzi-schemes-related-fraud-in-23-years/">Nigeria</a>, <a href="https://www.voazimbabwe.com/a/zimbabwe-money-pyramids-ponzi-schemes/6305100.html">Zimbabwe</a>, <a href="https://allafrica.com/stories/202105170964.html">Kenya</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/JFC-09-2020-0177">Ghana</a> and several other African countries.</p> <p>There are five tell-tale signs of a “get-rich-quick” scheme. Watch out for them.</p> <h2>The five tell-tale signs</h2> <p><strong>Firstly</strong>, they offer exaggerated and above-market returns within a short period of time, with the promise of little to no risk.</p> <p>There are two golden rules when it comes to investing. The first is that it takes time to make money. Amassing a small fortune within a short space of time should raise questions about the scheme.</p> <p>The second rule is: the higher the risk, the higher the return. In other words, no investment is risk free or can guarantee significant returns. There is always some risk involved. An investment that promises substantial returns tends to be quite risky, which repels most people with a low appetite for risk.</p> <p><strong>Secondly</strong>, new members are constantly recruited to join the scheme.</p> <p>Typically, such schemes are sustained by relying on the investments of new members to pay existing members. Once the number of existing members exceeds new members, the scheme goes “belly-up”. At best you lose out on the returns you were promised. At worst you lose all the money you’ve invested.</p> <p>When the scheme collapses, it is almost impossible to recover the money you’ve lost because you’ve technically given it to a stranger (remember, the definition of financial fraud encompasses the misrepresentation of identity).</p> <p><strong><strong>Thirdly</strong></strong>, there is urgency to join the scheme and no clarity on how the scheme works.</p> <p>This is a classic characteristic of a “get-rich-quick” scheme. There is usually no clear answer about the nature of the scheme, what it invests in, how it generates its returns or the credentials of the organisation.</p> <p>Legitimate investments are transparent and can provide investors with all the information they need to help them decide whether to invest. Unsurprisingly, a proper check of “get-rich-quick” schemes will unmask their fraudulent nature. This is why there’s always the urgency and coercion to make an immediate financial commitment under the guise of missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get rich.</p> <p><strong>Fourthly</strong>, the scheme is not registered with or regulated by any recognised authority.</p> <p>Regulatory authorities are important because they monitor the conduct of financial service providers and protect consumers by keeping their best interests in mind. The protection provided by financial regulators also instils confidence in financial systems.</p> <p>“Get-rich-quick” schemes are not registered and operate outside the framework of regulatory bodies. This makes investors more vulnerable to loss and makes it more difficult to seek legal recourse when the loss occurs.</p> <p>Legitimate investments in South Africa are offered by authorised financial service providers and regulated by the <a href="https://www.fsca.co.za/Pages/Default.aspx">Financial Sector Conduct Authority</a>. You can search for any authorised financial service provider on the authority’s <a href="https://www.fsca.co.za/Fais/Search_FSP.htm">website</a>.</p> <p><strong>Fifthly</strong>, they use the testimonies from existing members who’ve earned big bucks to promote the scheme.</p> <p>At the initial stages, the scheme tends to pay out to those who have invested early, and these members are encouraged to share the news of their wealth (which travels fast and far) to promote the scheme.</p> <p>But this is a tactic used to create the impression that you too can earn returns in the double digits. These schemes are both unsustainable and unethical as one person gets wealthy through someone else being deceived.</p> <h2>Too good to be true</h2> <p>It’s worth repeating that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.</p> <p>Wealth comes from a sound investment strategy and decisions made over time. Any promise to “get rich quick” should be treated with the cynicism it deserves. It will ultimately reveal its fraudulent nature. Recognising the signs of “get-rich-quick” schemes can save you from unnecessary financial distress.</p> <p>It’s always a good idea to do your own investigation before committing your finances into any investment. You can find more information on the various types of scams through the <a href="https://www.sabric.co.za/">South African Banking Risk Information Centre</a>’s website and report them to the <a href="https://www.safps.org.za/Home/Contact">South African Fraud Prevention Service</a>.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/205798/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bomikazi-zeka-680577">Bomikazi Zeka</a>, Assistant Professor in Finance and Financial Planning, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/abdul-latif-alhassan-1390159">Abdul Latif Alhassan</a>, Associate Professor in Development Finance & Insurance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-cape-town-691">University of Cape Town</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/get-rich-quick-schemes-pyramids-and-ponzis-five-signs-youre-being-scammed-205798">original article</a></em>.</p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Cruel myGov scam targeting unsuspecting Aussies

<p>A malicious scam is targeting unsuspecting Aussies struggling with the cost of living expenses promising them a one-off myGov payment to “help you cope” with the crisis.</p> <p>The scam text, shared to Reddit, claims to be from the government service, rather it works by tricking the recipient into sharing their personal details.</p> <p>The scam comes as calls continue to increase for the federal government to raise the rate of welfare payments, which currently see $49.50 per day for singles on JobSeeker and $40.20 per day for Youth Allowance.</p> <p>“myGov: We’re providing $800 in a single payment to help you cope with the cost of living crisis,” the scam text readers, with a link to a fault URL posing as the government service.</p> <p>The recipients of the message warned others to “be careful of this one”, expressing concerns over how easily the scam could deceive vulnerable Aussies struggling to stay afloat during the cost of living crisis.</p> <p>“I’m sure lots of people will fall for this,” one said.</p> <p>“Lucky their spoofed website doesn’t even work.”</p> <p>MyGov has issued several alerts warning people about various scams spoofing the service.</p> <p>Its advice for suspicious messages is to never reply, open any links or download any attachments.</p> <p>“myGov will never send you an email, SMS message, or direct message or private chat on social media, asking you to click on a link to sign in to myGov, enter your bank details, tell us your personal details, including your Customer Reference Number (CRN) or Tax File Number (TFN),” it said.</p> <p>Any customers who have shared their myGov details and other personal information to scammers should contact the Services Australia Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Reddit</em></p>

Money & Banking

Our Partners