Unfortunately, fraud is a prevalent part of today’s society. For a scam to work it is almost always necessary that the targeted individual, although unwittingly, will be asked to provide or do something to help the scam progress.
How to spot a fraudster…
Take a look at the below list of scenarios which should alert you to a potential scam.
Requests to send money to someone you don’t know
This can happen over the phone, the internet or even in person. If anybody asks for your bank account or credit card details, be sure to ask yourself these quick questions: Do you know them? Do you trust them? Do you want to do this? If the answer to any of the above is ‘no’, then keep your information to yourself.
Requests for personal details from unknown individuals
If you are asked for details such as full name, address, age, bank details and credit card number by an unknown company or individual think twice before you speak. A scammer may not collect this information all at once, but over a prolonged period of time so as not to appear suspicious. Be wary of providing such information to people that you do not know.
Requests to reconfirm bank, credit card or general payment details
Phishing, when a scammer will attempt to attain sensitive personal information via an electronic communication, is highly common in our technologically advanced society. You may notice this in the form of an unsolicited email disguised as a legitimate communication by your bank or other company you deal with regularly. If you receive any emails asking to reconfirm your bank, card or payment details do not click on any links or enter any information. Call the company directly (do not respond to the email) to confirm the legitimacy of the request.
If you receive a communication or a phone call offering you ‘early release’ on your Superannuation fund it is most definitely a scam. You cannot legally gain access to the ‘preserved’ part of your superannuation fund until your reach the ‘preservation age’ which is pre-determined by your individual fund. Certain exceptions apply, such as severe financial hardship or compassionate grounds, but otherwise if anyone claims that they can provide you with early access to your fund do not respond. Contact your super fund personally to investigate further.
Pressure to agree to something on the spot
Although this might sound vague, it is often easy to get caught up in a great ‘sales pitch’ and spontaneously agree to a policy, or sign a contract, without sufficient time to read the terms and conditions etc. A scammer may try to rush the process, and pressure you into agreeing to something that you’ve not had time to properly consider. Whether over the internet, over the phone or in person, be sure to set some time aside to evaluate your decision before you commit to anything.
How to protect yourself
1) Don’t use repeat passwords for your online accounts, be sure to include a mixture of letters and numbers to increase security.
2) When shopping online, check for the ‘padlock’ icon located at the top of your window, this confirms that the page is secure.
3) Do not respond to (or click on any links) in suspicious emails.
4) If you’re asked to reconfirm bank details, always check with the organisation via phone before providing any information.
5) Take some time to think. If you’re asked for any sensitive information, question the legitimacy before you take action.