Can you outsmart a scammer?

If you encounter a scammer, it’s most likely that they will be looking to steal your identity, and/or your money—this includes your superannuation! One step towards outsmarting a scammer is knowing what to watch out for.

02 May 2019

In 2019, the internet is an integral part of our everyday lives, we use it to find information, conduct transactions, and stay in touch with each other—it is undoubtedly a useful tool.  But, much like The Force, the internet has a dark side.

It’s a sad fact of the internet that there are people online who are looking to scam you. The good news is, there are simple things you can do to keep you and your family safe online—understanding more about cybercrime and cyber security is a good place to start.

What is cybercrime?

If you encounter a scammer, it’s most likely that they will be looking to steal your identity, and/or your money—this includes your superannuation! Identity theft, or identity fraud, is when someone gets access to your personal information—such as your name, date of birth, and contact details—and pretends to be you. Scammers may use this information for things like opening bank accounts, selling your house, applying for a passport, or engaging in illegal business under your name. Scammers may also gain access to your money by hacking your accounts, setting up payment re-directions, or by convincing you to willingly pay them.

What can you do about it?

Be aware of what you share.

You should only share your personal information with people you trust, or organisations with a legitimate need for it. This includes sharing information on social media.

Tip: Scammers can set themselves up to appear as a known source—e.g. a prominent brand—so be aware of sources asking for more information than you think they reasonably require.

Phishing—don’t get hooked!

Before you click a link in an email, think about whether the email seems genuine, you should check the sender information and make sure the email address is legitimate—if it doesn’t seem right, don’t click it.

Tip: If you are interested in the email subject, you can visit the organisation’s website in your browser rather than clicking a link in an email. You can also usually use a search engine (e.g. Google) to find the content online.

Protect yourself and your data

Keep your device up-to-date by installing security updates for your operating system and apps, and use reputable Antivirus software on your computers—one which scans files / emails / web sites. Be sure to back-up your data regularly so that you may be able to recover information in the event of a cyber-attack or hardware failure. Choose strong passwords that use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. 

Tip: Do not use the same password for different sites, particularly for financial sites—e.g. banking, super, eBay etc.

Protect your super

One way for scammers to get hold of your money is by offering to help you access your superannuation early. For example, they may say they can help you use your super money for something you want now—rather than saving it for your future self—by transferring your super balance into a self-managed super fund. These third parties may charge a fee or commission, or in some instances they may run off with your entire balance.

Tip: Early release of super is only allowed under very limited circumstances, for example on compassionate grounds, or in times of financial hardship.

Want to find out more?

More information about cyber security and superannuation can be found at:

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