According to Scamwatch, a staggering 195,848 scam reports were received (as at 14 December 2020) – amounting to a financial loss of over $150,000,000. Of this, phone, internet, social networking and email scams were the scammers delivery method of choice.
Unsurprisingly, phishing scams came out as number one on the list as the most reported scam of 2020, an increase of just over 38% from 2019.
Despite efforts to thwart the methods used by scammers, the tactics used by scammers are becoming ever more sophisticated.
Follow our tips and protect yourself and your tech from digital threats.
ACCC’s Scamwatch is your number number one resource to find scams that are in active circulation. For scams targeting Optus customers, you can find all the latest information up on our Latest Scams and Digital Safety Hub. Here, you’ll find real life examples of Optus branded phishing scams and information on what do if you’ve fallen victim to a scam.
Learn how to recognise scams
It’s important to learn how to recognise scams. Often scammers will hide behind the guise of a reputable company – be it your electricity provider, telco or bank. Although, the email or SMS may appear genuine, there several clues that can help you make the distinction between a legitimate and phony email.
Password, Biometrics and Two-factor authentication
Setting a secure password and taking advantage of biometrics might seem like an obvious one, but neglecting to set up your device securely or choosing a password that’s simple means your device and accounts are at risk.
Don’t use the same or similar password across multiple accounts and avoid words that are easily linked to you. A better idea is to consider an alphanumeric, 8 digit or graphical password, or even using a random password generator.
For an added layer of defence enable two-factor authentication. This option can be found within the privacy and security settings menu of most apps. For example, as well as a standard password, you can choose to be sent an SMS verification code.
Tip: You should regularly update your passwords on all your devices. This includes, your mobile, laptop/computers and your WiFi password.
Update your OS and Apps
Updating your phone’s software and apps is critical. OS developers routinely release updates to combat newly discovered threats and vulnerabilities. Trusted app vendors work to patch their software/applications as soon as new exploits are made known.
Don’t delay updating your handset! Not doing so can put your handset and private information at risk to cyber criminals.
Check out our device guides to find instructions for updating the software on your handset.
Download apps from trusted sources
Do your due diligence. Read reviews and only download applications from trusted sources. Stay away from certain third-party apps stores.
Third party vendors aren’t subject to the same stringent criteria and vetting process as larger app stores such as the Apple or Google Play store.
When installing or using an application for the first time, you may receive a prompt which requests access to certain features of your device. Always check your in-app permissions (and set to ‘while using app’ instead of ‘always’).
Use a Spam Filter
It’s the job of a Spam Filter to run through all incoming emails and redirect any suspicious messages to the spam folder or have them rejected entirely by blocking the unknown sender from the mail servers network entirely.
If an email you’ve received to your Optusnet address looks suspicious ,report the email immediately via the report spam function.
Report suspected phishing emails and SMS messages
If you’ve received a suspicious email or SMS from someone purporting to be from a reputable company, do not click on any links. The best thing to do is immediately report the scammer.
You can report scams to ACCC’s Scamwatch or if you’ve received an Optus branded phishing email/SMS, report the spammer by forwarding the email and the header to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you use an Optus Webmail service, you can report instances of non-Optus branded phishing by via the report spam button.
Are there any additional precautions you take to secure your tech and personal info? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comment section below.
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