How to protect yourself from scammers

Your financial safety is important and with the high incidences of phone and email scams today, I thought I would take a moment to give you a few tips on how you can stay safe.

What are Scams?

Scams are ways people use to trick you into paying money or giving out your personal information.They commonly occur over the phone, via email or text messages, although may occur in any area where personal or financial details are discussed.

Phone Scams

Someone may call you pretending to be from the ATO or bank and ask you questions about yourself or your financial position. These calls can sound very authentic as they may occasionally have gained some information about you, or in the way they talk, imply they know about you. The scammer may threaten you that you owe money to the ATO or there is some other reason why an urgent payment needs to be made.The phone number may not have caller ID, it may be incomplete or the scammer could be impersonating a legitimate number to try to fool you.

Text Message Scams

You may receive a message that you are eligible for a refund and need to respond by filling in personal details to an online form, or you may be asked to visit a (fake) website login page, perhaps for your bank. After you enter your log in details an error is presented to you while the scammer collects your personal details.

What happens if a scammer gets my information?

Once a scammer has enough information about you they may be able to access your bank accounts, take out loans in your name, lodge false tax returns or BAS statements, claim your entitlements or even gain access to your superannuation.

How to avoid being scammed

  • Ask them for a contact number to call them back on. Do this early in the conversation, they may give up sooner.
  • Check the callers phone number online. The ATO will only ever ask you to call on the numbers listed on their website.
  • Do not click on any links, attachments or respond to emails which appear suspicious.

Scammers can be vey sneaky!

If an offer sounds too good to be true or is “extremely urgent”, it may be a lead up to a scam.

In some cases scammers work in coordination with others and may transfer a call to a supervisor to enforce a point more strongly, they may also pretend to get your accountant on the phone for a conference call. As you can see, these techniques can be very persuasive and appear authentic. If you are placed in a situation where there is pressure to provide account details, money or any other critical details, simply ask that you call back and check the numbers and credentials of the caller.

If you think you may be the target of a scam, don’t give away any information or money and give us a call so we can assist if required.