Online safety is everyone’s responsibility. The internet provides access to a vast amount of information and instant communication around the world. It is now a part of everyday life for many people, however, there are always some that use this information to exploit others. Protection and education are key.
Be cautious of communication online via email or other social media applications that ask you to provide personal information, open attachments or log in to unknown websites or that a ‘problem’ has been detected with your devices, software or accounts.
Use precautions to minimise online fraud committed using online shopping or auction sites. Do your research on the website, item and the seller. It is advisable to use a secure payment (escrow) method rather than accept advice from the seller. Never provide confidential or financial information via email. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) provide advice for using online shopping and auctions sites. www.scamwatch.gov.au/
Monitor and protect your bank accounts by checking statements and confirming details before transferring funds. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) webpage provides useful advice regarding your right and obligations for unauthorised and mistaken transactions. www.moneysmart.gov.au/managing-your-money/banking/unauthorised-and-mistaken-transactions
Please note that the primary aim of law enforcement agencies is to prosecute offenders – this does not mean that you will necessarily get your money back. Unfortunately, with most scams the money has gone overseas or has already been disposed of by the offenders and there is nothing left. The best protection is education.
A useful guide for online safety, titled “Protect yourself in 8 steps” and prepared by the Australian Government, can be accessed from the Staysmartonline website at https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/get-involved/guides/myguide
Due to the varying types of frauds committed there are a number of dedicated agencies that may be able to assist. Please check the relevant reporting method via the tab ‘Reporting fraud’