There is a call for Australians to stay screen smart this summer as scammers target millions of dollars during the peak shopping periods of the year.
According to Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan Research, Australians are expected to spend more than $51 billion over the festive season, with an additional $17.9 billion predicted between Boxing Day and mid-January.
Of this, about 7% ($4.8 billion) will be spent online.
Malware and ransomware scams, investment scams, and romance scams are the top three scams to appear consistently across the year, but Australians also need to be aware of scams that prey on people’s generosity and vulnerabilities during the summer holiday period.
These include clicking on digital e-cards from someone you don’t know, online shopping scams through fake classified ads and auction listings, online donations to fake charities, phishing emails promising Christmas sales, and fake travel and holiday deals across legitimate-appearing websites and social media.
While ANZ figures show men are more likely to be targeted by scammers (58%), and people over 55 more vulnerable (67%) to scams, they say it is important to reinforce that scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and incomes.
ANZ is encouraging all Australians to be screen smart this summer, and make a simple PACT to protect their virtual valuables.
Pause before sharing your personal information - ask yourself, do I really need to give my information to this site or person? If it doesn’t feel right, don’t share it.
Activate two forms of identification - with Two Factor Authentication (2FA), you provide your password and something else such as a code sent to your mobile device or your fingerprint – before you can access your financial accounts.
Call out suspicious messages - be aware of current scams. If an email, call or SMS seems unusual, check it through official contact points or report it.
Turn on automatic software updates - set your software, operating system and apps to auto-update to make sure you get the latest security features.
If you think you, a family member or friend have been scammed, report it immediately to the ACCC via www.scamwatch.gov.au.
If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.