Scams on the rise – how to protect your money
Worrying new figures Australian Banking Association show that 37% of Australians have lost money to a scam, or have a family member or close friend who has.
The research also revealed:
- 92% of Australian adults have been exposed to a scam or fraud in the past year.
- 66% face a scam attempt every week.
- 29% fend off a scam attempt every day.
- 34% know someone who has lost over $150,000 to a scam.
RateCity supports the ABA public awareness campaign which aims to educate and prevent Australians from being ripped off by scams.
RateCity research director Sally Tindall said: “Many Australians don’t realize how common financial scams are until they, or someone they love, are affected. “
“Financial scams are becoming more sophisticated every day. Many unsuspecting Australians are duped by unsolicited text messages, emails or phone calls which can sometimes appear legitimate,” she said.
“If someone calls or sends a text claiming to be from your bank and asks for your account details or other personal information, be aware that it is most likely a scam. If you are concerned, call your bank directly at the number provided on their website.
“The sooner you detect fraud, the better. Check your bank statements regularly and if you see a purchase or transaction you don’t remember, ask.
“A lot of times it might be a store with a different business name, but if it’s not, you need to report it so you can hopefully get your money back.”
“Keeping track of your credit score is a good way to check that you haven’t been scammed. If your score goes down for no reason, you can get a copy of your credit report and see if there’s any suspicious activity,” she said.
What to do if you think you’ve been hacked?
- Check your card and bank statements regularly – If you notice unusual purchases on your statement, report it to your bank. Banks take fraud seriously and will try to recover lost money for you.
- Get a free copy of your credit history – Verify that all personal information, including listed loans and debts, is correct. It’s free to request a copy of your credit report every 12 months.
- Correct any errors – If something is wrong or out of date, contact the grading agency and ask them to fix it. This is a free service, and if any loans or debts on your report are not correct, contact the bank immediately.
- report it – It is important to notify the appropriate agency (this will depend on the type of scam – this could be your bank, ACCC Scamwatch, ASIC, Centrelink/Medicare or the police) so that she can investigate and warn the community to act.
How to protect yourself from financial scams
- Use strong passwords – Make it harder for scammers to hack.
- Be careful when shopping online – Only buy from websites you trust and make sure the website is secure. It will show a closed padlock or key in the URL.
- Check your credit score regularly – If you notice unexpected changes in your score, it could be a red flag that something is wrong and should be investigated.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi – If you are using public Wi-Fi, do not send or receive sensitive information and do not log into your bank or social media accounts.
- Check your social media privacy and security settings – If you use social networking sites like Facebook or Instagram, review your privacy options.