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If something is too good to be true then it’s probably a scam, says Crime Stoppers

Posted on 21/05/2018

In support of National Scams Awareness Week between 21 – 25 May 2018, Crime Stoppers SA and Police Credit Union have joined forces to help protect South Australians from falling victim to online scammers.

Crime Stoppers South Australia chair, Ms Sharon Hanlon, said whether a scam is spyware that holds your computer hostage, dodgy online merchants, or heartless thieves praying on the elderly, lonely and vulnerable, the threat of online fraud is real.

“The key to combating online fraud is knowing what threats exist and then take a number of easy, proactive steps to beat the scammers and avoid becoming one of their victims,” Ms Hanlon said.

“With ACCC’s Scamwatch receiving almost 33,000 scam reports in 2017 and about 2,800 people losing more than $4.7 million to scammers last year it is great to partner with Police Credit Union to develop this campaign and assist South Australians to stay safe online,” she said.

“Often people get conned because they are good of heart and entirely too trusting of someone that they have never met. They might be tricked into thinking that someone has contacted them to genuinely fix their computer and click on a link that provides a thief direct access to their files. Maybe someone is taken in by a sob story about needing money to overcome a family tragedy that never happened. Other times it is the promise of easy money, with the fraudster asking for a large ‘admin fee’ to be sent to them to handle paperwork costs because the victim has won first prize in a lottery that they never entered.”

Ms Hanlon said that scammers are also becoming more sophisticated in their endeavours, and more are now committing their crime in the background, without a victim even being directly contacted.

“We know of examples where a company has sent an invoice to a legitimate client for payment, but a scammer intercepts that email, changes the banking details to their own, and then sends the invoice on for payment, with the sender and receiver being none the wiser until the invoice is discovered as unpaid down the track,” Ms Hanlon said.

“There are examples of scammers pretending to be from trusted companies or government departments and send a fake bill by email with a link that bypasses your computer’s security and steals your data and passwords. That is why our advice is that if someone is contacted unexpectedly from a government agency or business then verify the identity of the contact through an independent source, such as a phone book or online search,” she said.

Police Credit Union CEO, Mr Costa Anastasiou, said “one of the best ways to protect yourself from potential scams is to regularly go through your transactions and speak to your financial institution immediately if a transaction doesn’t seem right.”

“You can do this using online banking and banking apps. Good financial institutions will always proactively make contact with their members when they see something that could potentially be a scam, so put your trust in a financial institution that is genuinely interested in your banking security and has security measures, such as fingerprint access and security services, in place,” he said.

“If you have elderly relatives and friends then take the time to speak to them about the threat of scams because the over 65 sector continues to fall victim to scammers daily and are heavily over-represented. And always remember that if you’ve sent money or shared your banking or credit card details with someone that you later suspect to be a scammer then contact your financial institution immediately because it may be able to stop or reverse a transaction or close your account.”

To find out more about how to stay safe online go to campaigns page.

Police Credit Union

Formed in 1970, Police Credit Union is proudly South Australian based and headquartered. Today it boasts assets exceeding $950 million and delivers better banking services to over 40000 customers.  Supporting better communities represents an intrinsic pillar of the organisation’s corporate strategy.  Its strong sense of corporate social responsibility spans initiatives both large and small, including, a long-standing partnership with the Police Association of South Australia, a foundation sponsor of SA Police Ride Like Crazy and a 23-year commitment in bringing the Credit Union Christmas Pageant to the streets of Adelaide, representing but a few examples of the organisation’s community investment. Police Credit Union has helped thousands of South Australians achieve their financial goals and dreams with competitive and high value Better Banking products and services. The multi award-winning, values-driven, Member-owned organisation boasts a market leading customer satisfaction rating of 93.7%, 24-7 Internet, Mobile and Phone banking and branches across SA and NT.

More about Police Credit Union can be found at www.policecu.com.au

About Crime Stoppers SA

Crime Stoppers began in South Australia in 1996 and since then has played a critical role in encouraging people to come forward with information that helps to solve crimes and educate on topics such as property and personal safety, vehicle theft, and cyber safety. The program encourages people to be alert and engaged participants in their community and provides a secure way for information about illegal activity and unsolved crimes to be passed to police through an independent toll-free hotline and a website that guarantees anonymity with the option of a reward. Crime Stoppers SA works with police, the media and the public to solve, reduce and prevent crime.

 




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