The three main risks are:
If your personal information is taken by the wrong people, it can be used to perform identity theft. Identity theft is a type of scam or fraud that includes using someone else’s identity to steal money or gain some other type of benefit.
The scammer tricks you into giving your personal information to them.
The scammer gains access to your personal information by taking advantage of the security weaknesses on your device.
The scammer tricks you into giving access to your device and paying for a service you don’t need.
Malware – The scammer tricks you into installing software that allows them to access your files and track what you are doing.
Ransomware – The scammer demands payment to ‘unlock’ files on your device.
The scammer tricks you by creating a fake profile on a social media or dating site and sends you a ‘friend’ request.
The scammer gains access to your personal information through your unlocked mail or letter box, or from personal documents that you throw away such as energy bills, bank letter or medical records.
Scams are often done by email, phone or SMS. Some scammers have very professional looking emails, websites or call centres – they often look and sound like the real thing.
The scammer tries to convince you that you have won or inherited some money and in order to access or receive this money you need to provide banking details or other personal information so they can access your money to steal it.
Scammers may try to trick you into thinking you are a very lucky person and offer you the chance to invest in a new idea or product, again so they can gain access to your bank details to steal your money.
Scammers can set up some very convincing websites, emails or calls to make them look and sound like real charities and then ask for donations or bank details to steal your money.
Before making a donation make sure to check the organisation and that they are real. Check the domain name and that the address follows the format of charityname.org or charityname.org.au
Scammers begin an online romantic relationship with people over the time span of weeks, months or even years. They will tell you they are love in with you, often quite early in the relationship, and show great interest and attention in you – often calling, emailing, and messaging frequently. They might tell you that they want to visit you but don’t have enough money for the plane ticket. Or they might ask for you to buy them goods or services for them. These relationships can seem very real but often they are using you and your stolen money for criminal activities.
Phishing emails often direct users to enter personal information at a fake website which matches the look and feel of the real website.
Make sure that you check the text of the email, does it have:
These emails tend to appeal to specific emotions as well, for example:
Source: ECU Information Security.
Edith Cowan University takes the security of its information seriously.
It is important that we are able to detect and respond to threats as quickly as possible.
The best way to report these incidents is via the IT Service Desk.
If you wish to remain anonymous the following you can report directly to Information Security staff, not to the IT Service Desk.
If you think you have been a victim of a scam and have provided your account details, passport, tax file number, licence or other personal identification details to a scammer, contact your bank, financial institution or other relevant agencies immediately.
You can also contact iDcare – a free government-funded service which will work with you to develop an individual response plan and support you through the process. You can fill in their Get Help Form online or call 1300 432 273.
The ACCC Scamwatch also provides more information on where you can get help in Australia.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. (n.d.). Identity theft. https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams/attempts-to-gain-your-personal-information/identity-theft
Commonwealth of Australia. (2018). Email. https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/protect-yourself/protect-your-stuff/email