#relationshipscams | #dating | Scamwatch: want to see who’s viewed your social media profile? Think again. | Katherine Times

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Every year, thousands of Australians are targeted by scams, whether it be online, via phone, mail or even in person. Australian Community Media has compiled a list of current scams identified on sites such as scamwatch.gov.au and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s website dedicated to informing people about fraudulent and dishonest activities: Have you been a victim of a recent scam? Australian Community Media is interested in publishing first-hand accounts from those who have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous operators. If you’re interested in sharing your story as a warning to others, contact Anna Wolf at anna.wolf@austcommunitymedia.com.au. Related reading: Spotting a scam: Tips for shopping on Gumtree Australians have lost over $8.8 million to threat based scams so far this year, and young people are reporting the highest losses. Consumers can also download the ACCC’s Little Black Book of Scams, which has been translated into 10 languages. You can follow @scamwatch_gov on Twitter and subscribe to Scamwatch radar alerts. Australians have lost over $300,000 to rental and accommodation scams this year, an increase of 76 per cent compared to the same time last year, according to Scamwatch.gov.au The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) said it is concerned about the increasing number of people paying fake tax debt scammers. The tax authority said: The banking institution said it is aware that some customers had received an email asking them to verify their account. It is a hoax. How to tell it’s not a real email from the Commonwealth Bank: What to do if you receive this email: Netflix is warning of an email and text scam requesting people’s username, password or payment method. The email tells subscribers that their monthly payment was unsuccessful and they need to re-enter their bank details. It threatens to close their account if a payment isn’t made. Indicators that prove the email is a scam: Netflix says it will never ask for personal information over email, nor request payment through a third party vendor or website. Should you click on a link in a ‘dodgy’ email or text, Netflix advises that you: Scammers target migrants and temporary visa holders claiming to be from the ‘Department of Immigration’. Protect yourself The scam is designed to scare you into handing over your money without seeking any further assistance or information. WARNING SIGNS Australians are being urged to watch out for government impersonation scams with over $1.26 million lost from more than 7100 reports made to Scamwatch so far this year and in reality, losses are likely to be far greater. The ACCC also recommends that you report the scam to the government department that was impersonated. More information on scams is available on the Scamwatch website, including how to make a report and where to get help. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is urging the public to beware of SMS and email scams that ask you to update your details on a fake myGov website. If you receive an SMS or email from the ATO that you think is fraudulent, report it by sending an email to reportemailfraud@ato.gov.au. If you receive an SMS or email that looks like it’s from myGov but it contains a link or appears suspicious email reportascam@servicesaustralia.gov.au. If you have clicked on a link or provided your personal information, contact Services Australia on 1800 941 126. The ATO has receive reports of scammers sending members of the public automated phone calls pretending to be from the ATO, as well as other government agencies including Services Australia and the Department of Legal Services. Betting and sports investment scams are often a form of gambling disguised as legitimate investments. Most of the schemes or programs do not work as promised and buyers cannot get their money back. In many cases the supplier simply disappears. Computer prediction software Betting syndicates Sports investment Business email compromise scams caused the highest losses across all scam types in 2019 costing businesses $132 million, according to the ACCC’s Targeting Scams report. Almost 6,000 reports were made from businesses in 2019, with $5.3 million in reported losses. False billing was the most commonly reported type of scam which includes business email compromise scams. Other scams reported by businesses include online shopping scams where the business attempts to buy equipment online and the product never arrives. Hacking occurs when a scammer gains access to your personal information by using technology to break into your computer, mobile device or network. To minimise your risk, always keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall. Only buy a computer and anti-virus software from a reputable source. Protect your self Lake Illawarra Police are warning residents about a new scam that has targeted a number of victims across the Illawarra who have been searching for rental properties. Police are investigating a number of incidents relating to homes advertised online for rent on sites such as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. Read more here. Scammers will travel from door to door in neighbourhoods, targeting the vulnerable and often older members of the community. The scammers are sometimes known to have Irish or Scottish accents and will tell their targets that urgent work is needed to be carried out on their roof before offering a quote for the repairs. Final costs blow out to thousands of dollars and often little or poor work is actually carried out. Several Irish nationals have recently been charged with such a scam and people are being urged to be vigilant for similar operations around the country. Scratchie cards are sometimes used in promotions, lotteries or competitions, beckoning users to ‘scratch and win an instant prize’, for example travel or holidays. While some scratchie cards may represent legitimate lotteries or competitions, according to scamwatch.gov.au, you should be extremely suspicious of any scratchie card that requires a payment to claim a prize. Related reading: Police appeal for victims of fake leather jacket scam to come forward You may hear about a pyramid scheme from friends, family or neighbours. Usually, pyramid schemes recruit members at seminars, home meetings, over the phone, by email, post or social media. Here are some tips to avoid ending up on the bottom of the heap. READ MORE: Looking for a lockdown puppy? Be aware of fraudsters JobKeeper scams: Scammers targeting JobKeeper applicants Related reading: NBN scams targeting internet users during COVID-19 crisis Related reading: Police warn of invoice scams Have you been a victim of a recent scam? Australian Community Media is interested in publishing first-hand accounts from those who have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous operators. If you’re interested in sharing your story as a warning to others, contact Anna Wolf at anna.wolf@austcommunitymedia.com.au The federal government’s www.scamwatch.gov.au website has received more than a thousand coronavirus-related scam reports since the outbreak. Common scams include phishing for personal information, online shopping, and superannuation scams. Types of COVID-19 Scams More information on these scams can be found at the Scamwatch website. If you have been scammed or have seen a scam, you can make a report on the Scamwatch website. Tips for avoiding COVID-19 scams include: More information ACCC advice to consumers on COVID-19 (coronavirus) ACCC advice to small business on COVID-19 coronavirus Australian Government Business (business.gov.au) – Coronavirus information and support for business Malware and ransomware Visit www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam to report a scam. You can also report a scam to the appropriate agency to help them warn the community about scams and take action to disrupt scams. Banking: Your bank or financial institution Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support and myGov related scams: Department of Human Services Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk – call 1800 941 126 Cybercrime: ReportCyber Financial and investment scams: Australian Securities and Investments Commission Fraud and theft: Your local police – call 131 444 In Victoria call your local police station Image based abuse (sextortion), cyberbullying and illegal content: Office of the eSafety Commissioner Spam: Australian Communications and Media Authority Tax related scams: Australian Taxation Office This information has been taken from the federal government’s Scamwatch website. for more information visit scamwatch.gov.au.

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