Do not Feed the Phish!

We all hear about “phishing scams” but what are they exactly?

Phishing is described as a cybercrime in which you may be contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate company to lure you into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords etc.  The information they gather is then used to access your important accounts and result in financial loss and identity theft. 

There are a number of phishing email and text scams around at the moment.  But how can we identify if it is a scam?  Some messages are so convincing!  

You will find quite often that there is a sense of urgency in the email, text or call, asking you to act fast as the “too good to be true” deal will expire.  Sometimes they will tell you that your account will be suspended if you don’t update your personal details immediately.  A hyperlink may be included in the email or text.  Hovering over a link shows you the actual URL (Uniform Resource Locator – also known as an internet address or web address) where you will be directed to if you click on it.  You may find that the URL address is completely different or it could be from a popular website with a misspelling, for instance www.amzon.com, missing the letter “a” for instance.  If you see an attachment in an email you are not expecting do not open it.  These links generally contain viruses that will infiltrate your computer.

Recently you may have even received an email purportedly from our Parish Priest asking if you are unoccupied at the moment or similar.  Do not respond to this type of email as you will find yourself entering into a dialogue with a scammer who will gain your trust enough for you to divulge your personal information to them.  Please remember:

  • Parish Staff will never ask you for cash donations or gift cards.
  • An email that looks like it is from the parish asking you to click on a link to enter further personal details or credit card information, is not genuine.  Do not click on any links, delete the email.
  • Remote access scams.  Scammers pretend to be from well-known organisations such as Telstra, eBay, NBN, Amazon, banks, government departments, police, and computer and IT support.  They create a sense of urgency to make you give them access to your computer via remote access software.  If you think the communication may have been legitimate, independently source the contact details for the organisation to contact them.  Don’t use the contact details in the communication.  Also, don’t click on any of the links.
  • Scam text messages about missed calls or voicemails.  The text messages ask you to tap on a link to download an app to hear a voicemail message.  However, the message is fake, there is no voicemail, and the app is actually malicious software called Flubot.  Do not click on links in text messages saying you have a voicemail or missed call.  Do not call back the individual who sent the text.  It’s likely that they are a scammer or criminal.  Scammers can disguise their caller ID as legitimate numbers to carry out these scams.  This is also known as spoofing.  Delete the message immediately.

There are things you can do to protect yourself, to help identify a scam, to stop a scam, to get help if you have been scammed, and to report a scam visit the ACCC ScamWatch website.

Our parishes are also sensitive to protecting your data and your privacy.  Our privacy policy is available to read on our website.

Remember if an email or text message looks like it is from someone you don’t recognise or even if it looks familiar, if the subject seems out of the ordinary, unexpected or out of character for the sender then please do not click on it! 

By Kate Baines 

 

Safeguarding Stewardship

Comments

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Denise Mulcahy

Thank you, Kate for this article. It is very informative and the most helpful I have read on the topic. I continue to get text messages from a reputable bank saying that there is something faulty in my bank account, and a request for me to click on a link which I have not done). The only problem is I do not have a personal bank account! Despite blocking this message, it continues to come.

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