Too many people fall victim to the scourge of scamming and the result can leave many without their life savings intact. Emails from estate attorneys about long lost relatives or telephone calls from Microsoft Windows concerned about your home computer are only two of the many elaborate strategies used by ruthless criminals to gain access to your accounts.
Let me share with you some of the devious attempts I have encountered over the past year alone.
- Browser Frozen – Suddenly you get a pop-up screen that advocates they are working with the FBI or AFP and you hear a person explain to you that your facebook, bank account details and credit card details have been recorded and sent to the FBI and to have the screen unfrozen you need to call 1800 XXX XXX. You try to close the window and it won’t let you. If you call the number you get a fellow try to fleece your credit card details from you so he can go on a spending spree with your money.
Fix – for Windows: Ctrl-Alt-Delete and END your browser session. When you re-open your browser you might be asked if you want to re-open the last session. Choose NO.
- Microsoft Windows – My favourite. You receive a call from “Microsoft Windows” and they tell you that your computer is infected with a virus and that you need to let them remotely log onto your computer to fix it. What they do then is rummage through your computer to find any passwords, credit card details or bank details. Quite often you can hear a lot of noise in the background because they operate a very elaborate call-centre type setup in places like India.
Fix – Never let your computer record your password on logon screens. ALWAYS have fun with the turkeys because there is nothing you can say to them that will stop them trying to get your info, I’ve tried. I have told them I only use MAC, they hang up. I told them they called the Australian Federal Police building, they hang up. I have tried not talking at all, they eventually hang up. I have pretended to speak another language, they hang up.
- I received many emails from alleged Attorneys working on behalf of a long lost deceased relative who has left me millions in their will. All I have to do is reply to the email. When I do I then need to either send them my banking details or send them a service fee of around one thousand dollars to release the money.
Fix – Don’t reply to the email, not even to be funny. Use an Email Tracing website to back trace the email. You will find that it originated in Nigeria or someplace like that.
- I receive a phone call from Telstra or a Bank and they start by asking my Full name and date of birth as security questions before we start our discussion. We are such trusting Aussies that most of us will give them our details without thinking. I am not that trusting.
Fix – Tell them that you don’t ordinarily give out your personal information to anyone and then ask them to tell you your account number as your own security procedure. Click…beep…beep…beep. If they are genuine they will give it to you and tell you what the phone call is about.
Scams have become common in our society these days and it is becoming very difficult to keep up with them. For more information about scams you can go to www.scamwatch.com.au or download a handy book on scams here.