Financial cybercrime is on the rise in Australia, as the increasing use of technology such as online banking and social media makes it an attractive target for criminals.
Despite increasingly sophisticated methods being used, there are a number of things you can do to help you and your family stay safe online.
As our financial lives move increasingly online, cybercrime is becoming more prevalent. As simple as a phishing email or as far-reaching as the WannaCry ransomware attack that hit more than 150 countries in May 2017, cybercrime can have devastating impacts for individuals and businesses alike.
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime refers to criminal activity that is directed towards a computer or mobile device. It involves gaining personal details from a victim, such as banking account or credit card details, in an attempt to steal money, data or other personal information.
The impacts of cybercrime can be significant and extremely upsetting for the victim, with the costs being not only financial, but emotional, as the victim has their privacy and sense of security violated.
Types of cybercrime
There are a number of different methods that cyber criminals use to access your information for financial gain. Understanding these risks can help you better detect suspicious activity and make smarter decisions around how to respond.
Spotlight on phishing
In June 2017, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) warned people to be vigilant of ‘phishing scammers’ pretending to be from well-known businesses and government departments.
“Scammers use phishing to trick their victims into giving out valuable personal information such as their bank account numbers, passwords, credit card numbers or even their online passwords for their PayPal, Apple or social media accounts. Any personal information you have is potentially valuable to a scammer and they will try to get it off you in a variety of ways,” said ACCC Acting Chair Delia Rickard.
“The scammer may say that the bank or organisation is verifying customer records due to a technical error that wiped out customer data. Or, they may ask you to fill out a customer survey and offer a prize for participating. These are all part of a scammer’s bag of tricks which they use to get you to give up your valuable personal data,” said Ms Rickard.
Once they have enough personal information, scammers can conduct criminal activity such as making purchases with the victim’s credit cards, stealing their identity, or scamming the victim’s friends or family.
Tips for staying safe online
While there are no guarantees that you can protect all your information from being unlawfully accessed, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.
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