Scams Increase during Lockdown

In the last few months, there has been an increase in scams through phone calls, SMS messages and an increase in the volume of scam email traffic.

There are a number of scams circulating currently and they target everyone.  Scammers use stealth, surprise and clever tactics to get what they want, which may be your money or your personal details.  No one is too smart to be scammed. 

In the first instance, scammers are just trying to get a response from you to their email or answering their telephone call.  They may not even know if either are working, they are just trying their luck.  They offer you a prize, but you need to offer some personal details – date of birth, full name, current address.  Some ask for bank details to deposit the prize money, others for a payment to be deposited so the inheritance you were not expecting can be paid.  If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.

Sally McIntosh reflects on a recent call she received: “I count myself lucky that I have caller ID on my mobile, so I can check the number.  I’ve been receiving calls from Russia, China, Japan, and other overseas numbers.  If I don’t recognise the number, I don’t answer the phone.  Earlier this week I dropped my guard and answered a call from a NSW number, he said he was from my internet service provider informing me of unusual traffic through my modem from multiple devices.  I thanked him kindly for letting me know and hung up.  I did not give him the chance to ask me any questions.  I know that this is not how my service provider would contact me.”

Some things you should watch out for:

  • 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.

By Kate Baines and Sally McIntosh

 

Participation Stewardship

Comments

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Kate Baines

Thank you Judith. It is important that we all continue to be vigilant as these scams can leave you quite distressed. Keep safe everyone.

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Judith Mary

Such good advice Kate and Sally. We have all had these scam messages and really need to be alert that there so many of these scams out there. Lockdown is alive with such people. Be aware at present I have had several messages from DHL telling me they are tracking my goods that we have ordered, funny thing we do not do any online shopping !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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