Australia Post has issued a new warning for Aussies to beware of a new scam targeting innocent people.
The letter-delivering company said it was aware of a new text message scam where people were being offered prizes in exchange for personal information. No such offer exists within Australia Post and it is urging people to be cautious of the fraudulent messages.
“Australia Post is aware that fraudulent SMSs are being sent to Australians offering fake ‘mystery box’ prizes,” a statement read.
The message sent to people asks them to click on a link that isn’t related to Australia Post. In the scam, people are encouraged to complete a survey, before being directed to another page where they claim their reward. In reality, it’s actually a page that asks for bank account details.
Rather than depositing money, scammers will withdraw it using the details people have supplied. Australia Post said the messages look convincing, but assured Australians that they’re not real.
“Due to the way mobile phones combine conversations these scams can appear in the same conversation view as legitimate Australia Post SMS messages,” Australia Post explained. “Please note that Australia Post will never email or SMS you asking you to click on a link that asks for any of your personal or financial information, including any form of ID, passwords, credit card details and account information.”
People are encouraged to detail any suspicious text messages and emails and to hang up on phone calls that don’t sound authentic. There’s also help available for people who may have already sent their information and details to scammers.
“If you’ve sent any personal information to the scam email address and are worried that your identity has been stolen, please call ID CARE on 1300 432 273 as they provide free services to victims of identity theft,” Australia Post said.
The latest Australia Post scam comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) found that those over the age of 55 are the most susceptible when it comes to scams, particularly fake investment opportunities and online dating tricks.
Last year, more than $340 million was lost to scams, an increase of 13 per cent from the year before. Those aged between 55 and 64 were found to have lost the most money to scams in 2017, being scammed out of a total of $21.6 million over the 12-month period.
The ACCC has released its ninth annual 'Targeting scams' report. Scamwatch received over 160,000 reports in 2017 and more than $90 million was reported lost. For more 2017 stats and trends, read our full report https://t.co/bGtIEzDTnt pic.twitter.com/CfkACIDbyX
— Scamwatch_gov_au (@Scamwatch_gov) June 19, 2018
In most cases, people were caught out by phone and email scams. Around 31 per cent of dodgy emails caught people out, while four in 10 hackers contacted people by phone.
Experts advise that one of the best ways to stay safe is to be careful what information is shared on the Internet. Limiting the amount of information shared on social media is important, particularly when it comes to divulging personal information. It’s also important to refuse to companies ‘remote access’ to your PC, as this could be a trick to lock you out of your own computer.
Using public WiFi can also open people up to being scammed, because many public networks aren’t actually secure. Adding extra protection and security such as memorable information or security codes for online banking is recommended. Meanwhile, it’s important to regularly update passwords and avoid using names of well-known sporting teams, brands and musicians as they can be easily hacked.