How to stay safe from scams
How to stay safe from scams was part of the recent National Consumer Fraud Week. It ran from the 15th to 19th May. Furthermore, government and consumer groups used the opportunity to spread awareness on the subject.
It is estimated that older Australians are often targets. That is because they are one of the fastest growing online user groups. As a result, scammers are targeting them. Here, at Vermont Aged Care, we are especially careful to protect our beloved residents. Not only because they are in our care, but also due to their ages. That is why we’re happy to pass on the following tips we hope will be helpful.
Education and awareness key
An education and awareness campaign is being run by the Australian Consumer Fraud Taskforce. Furthermore, this year they are focusing on online and social media scams. Not surprisingly, older Australians are being targeted due to access to life savings and substantial assets.
The different types of scams
One of the scams highlighted is via the telephone. Banking on diminished hearing, the scammers ask the question “Can you hear me?”. Understandably, a plausible answer would be “Yes”. Unfortunately, by using voice recognition software, this might result in access to your personal accounts.
Another scam involves people impersonating the ATO. In this case demanding gift cards and vouchers to repay debt. Also, Police say these scammers are targeting the older age group in particular. Further, one estimate puts people over 55 at having lost $1 million dollars since January through this scam.
Both the police and the ATO advise that the scammers are very clever. Apparently they sound extremely convincing. Furthermore, they may purport to be from your bank or a familiar provider. They do this in the hopes of eliciting information from you. They use very sophisticated software to access information on your computer. Also, they may be trying to install malicious software or viruses.
The social networking scams
The government estimates these scams generated $9.5 million dollars of losses for Australian consumers. With the highest losses coming from dating and romance scams.
The dating and romance scams
The dating and romance scams also fall under the heading of social networking. Statistics show that they were 79% more prevalent in 2016 than the previous year. Link: Government scam watch. https://www.scamwatch.gov.au.
The Fake Trader Scams
However, fake trader scams also generated high losses. Moreover, a sharp increase in scams appears to be taking place through social media sites. Australian Competition and Consumer Commissions Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard, says detection can be difficult. Link: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/news/spot-social-media-scams-national-consumer-fraud-week-2017.
Ms Rickard advises never sending or wiring money to someone you have never met in person. That is because you will probably never see that money again. Statistically, Australians over 55 accounted for 45% of reports to Scamwatch. Furthermore it is estimated that the total losses to scan disruption programs might reach almost $300 million.
The proposed solutions
The authorities suggest the following solutions. Firstly, everyone including the elderly should be wary. Secondly, if the call sounds suspicious hang up. Thirdly, never respond with a “Yes” to the question “Can you hear me”. Next, do not click on suspicious links to websites. Instead, visit the official website of the company for approved payment methods.
Do not accept social media invitations unless you know the sender well. Don’t assume a friend’s social media account or email has not been hacked. Check first. Use unique passwords for different accounts. Go to staysmartonline.gov.au for further information.
Furthermore, never open an attachment from an unsolicited email. That is because it may result in the installation of software from the scammers. This in turn will give them access to your computer and potentially your personal information. Finally, if you suspect that you have been the victim of a scam, you should monitor your accounts closely. If you detect anything suspicious call the police and report it to them.
With the advent of technology, the world has grown smaller whilst becoming a bigger marketplace. Nonetheless, whilst we have to live with our times, more than ever before caution is the key. Therefore, with some simple precautions, and a measured dose of wisdom and common sense, we can enjoy the benefits of technology without the dangers.
So, until next time, dear reader, from our extended family here at Vermont Aged Care, we wish you safe, secure and happy days ahead. Please look out for our next informative blog. Bye for now!
This blog is intended to provide helpful advice. Please speak with your family GP for personalised information or, for specialist advice & support in Melbourne Australia, please contact VERMONT AGED CARE:
770 Canterbury Road, Vermont, Victoria, Australia 3133
Phone: +61 03-9873 5300. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org