Protect Your Organization From The Rise Of Scam Activities
Statistics show that Australians lost over $634 million to scams in 2019. Businesses lost $132 million in the same year, representing an increase of 120% in losses over the previous year.
Scammers often impersonate CEOs, senior managers, staff members, or suppliers. Unsuspecting employees do not identify a scam before it is too late.
People always ask Steadfast Solutions how they can identify and protect themselves against scams. Steadfast Solutions is a leading provider of reliable IT support services across Australia. Our specialists developed this guide to help you identify and defend against scams in Australia.
False billing scams trick your business to pay phoney invoices for advertising, directory listings, domain name renewals, or office stationery that you never ordered.
How False Billing Scams Happen
You may get a call or invoice purporting to be from your supplier requesting you to pay for office supplies you never ordered. The request may have some urgency, such as claiming an offer is available for a brief period, or there are consequences if you do not act.
You may get payment directions scams. Scammers may claim to be your supplier, and they have changed their bank account details to the one they provide.
Scammers may send false advertising and directories forms. You fill them thinking you have received a special offer, but they are invoices or contracts. They may also call to inquire about an advertisement you have placed, which is nonexistent, to get you to pay.
Watch out for these signs.
- Details provided by the scammer are suspicious or inaccurate
- The scammer informs you that regulations require you to be in their register
- The scammer requires you to pay for a domain that is not yours or charges higher rates
- You get an invoice for goods you never ordered, or the scammer purports to be your suppliers and offers products you do not need
- Your company gets gifts with extra goods you did not order
- Ask for offers in writing and seek clarifications
- Have an inspection and acceptance committee to look at goods and their invoice before paying
- Limit employees that can order and pay for goods
- Call suppliers to verify any request for changes to their details
- End communications with people that try to intimidate or bully you into taking specific actions
- Do not renew or register domains when you get letters whose senders claim to be your provider
- Verify Australian .au domain providers by visiting the auDA site or visit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to verify foreign providers.
Phishing scams are on the rise during this period of the pandemic. Attackers are often sending bogus emails to access your company’s systems and steal data.
How Phishing Scams Happen
Attackers send emails that spoof the company’s partners or customers. The emails have links or files that have malware.
Scammers have a sense of urgency in the specific actions they need recipients to take. They can claim that your company will no longer get essential services, or you will face dire consequences if you do not act now.
Links lead to sites that siphon details for further attacks, while attachments often have malware that infects your system.
Watch out for these signs.
- The link does not lead to a site relevant to its context
- The sender’s address is not from a company domain, or the attacker changed it to imitate that of an organisation you work with
- The email does not look professional, and it has spelling errors or threats
- Your computer is slow or has programs or settings you do not recognise.
- Do not open suspicious links or attachments
- Verify the sender’s details by confirming their email address through an internet search and ensuring their message matches their organisation’s services
- Do not provide personal details at the behest of a sender, but request their information and verify it
- Abandon a site without secure symbols — ‘https’ protocol at the beginning of the link address or a closed padlock
Investment scams try to get your company, staff, or you to spend money on the guarantee of a bogus financial opportunity.
How Investment Scams Happen
You may get cold calls. A scammer calls you claiming to be a portfolio manager or stockbroker, and they give unsolicited investment advice. The caller will claim they have a low-risk opportunity that guarantees high returns, or they encourage you to invest in a foreign company. They are persistent, will not provide a valid Australian Financial Services Licence, and you can mistake their scam for genuine business.
You may also get scams encouraging you to buy shares or hot tips. The scammer assures you that your investment will have substantial returns. Their message will need you to act fast, giving you no time to validate their claims. These scammers may want to boost stock prices for their shares. Their value is likely to drop once you buy them.
Motivational speakers, self-made millionaires, or investment experts may promote investment seminars. These meetings try to convince you that specific investments or strategies will lead to enormous yields. Promoters charge attendance fees, sell overpriced books, or sell stakes without allowing you to verify their assertions. They use their success stories to influence you into taking specific actions, which often lead to substantial losses.
Superannuation scams offer early access to your super fund. You may have to pay to get it. The scammer gets you to agree to a story to ensure quick release of your fund and deceive the superannuation business to pay your benefits to them. They may give you a portion of this amount or keep it all. The law states that one can only access the preserved part of their superannuation when they are 55–60 years old, depending on their place of birth. There are specific exceptions, but anyone who contacts you to get your superannuation is likely a scammer.
Watch out for these signs.
- You get multiple calls offering unsolicited advice or opportunities
- A stranger sends you an email offering you shares or advice on share prices of a specific company
- You get an invitation to a seminar offering a path to an investment free from risk, with high returns, charging high fees, or attended by a prominent investor guaranteeing success
- You get an invitation to a free conference, but you will pay for subsequent meetings
- You get an advertisement promising a simple way to unlock your superannuation early.
- Do not give your details to strangers that call or email you
- Be cautious about opportunities that guarantee high yields with little to no risk
- Confirm a financial advisor has the qualifications via the ASIC website
- Check blacklisted companies in the ASIC list and avoid them
- Verify any claims made by an investment advisor before investing, especially those that contact you via digital means
- Disregard unsolicited market predictions or tips from strangers online
- Do not make your decision during a seminar
- Compare share prices of companies with various sources
- Avoid promotions offering early access to your superannuation if you are below 55 years, or consult to see if you merit the specific category of people that can get them while younger.
These scammers steal details and impersonate your staff, supplier, or you. They get services, payments, or do illegal activities while pretending to be someone else.
How Identity Thefts Happen
A scammer can get your details through:
- Phishing: trick you via email or other means to install malicious programs or open files and links
- Malware and ransomware: the scammer tricks you into installing software that enables them to get your details
- Hacking: the scammer exploits vulnerabilities in your network to get details
- Fake online profiles: the scammer sets up a pseudo account and targets you
- Remote access scams: the scammer tricks you into giving them access to your computer from a remote location
- Document theft: the scammer gets your digital or physical trash and gains your details
Once the scammer has your details, they create an identity mimicking yours and spoof service providers or get payments.
Signs of Identify Theft
Watch out for these signs.
- You get peculiar charges credited to your account
- You get strange emails
- You get called by companies you do not recognise, or you have not contacted
- Your mail does not arrive.
- Lock your street mailbox to prevent unauthorised access
- Shred documents that you no longer need
- Use strong passwords
- Monitor your accounts
- Use security software on your devices
- Be careful as you use social media
- Log out of accounts when you access them using public computers and ensure nobody is looking as you type your login details.
Scammers may gain unauthorised access into your network by exploiting vulnerabilities.
How Hacking Happens
Scammers trick you into installing malware or ransomware. The malware gives attackers a backdoor into your system, and they can track your activities or access your files. Ransomware requires you to pay before accessing your data.
Attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in your network. These weaknesses can be weak passwords, unsecured connections, or outdated security software.
The scammers can access your files, change your logins, or lock you out of your system.
Watch out for these signs.
- You cannot log in to your accounts
- You have new programs, or your computer is slow
- You cannot find some of your files
- You get many pop-up boxes on your screen requiring you to take specific actions
- Your internet or phone bill is unexpectedly high
- Money disappears from your accounts without activity from your side or your bank’s side.
- Ensure everyone in your network has strong passwords
- Update your cybersecurity programs and only use those from reputable vendors
- Consult your IT firm to run checks to identify vulnerabilities or intruders in your network
- Only download files from reliable vendors and visit secure sites
- Secure your system and ensure every user avoids accessing it from unsecured public connections.
Steadfast Solutions is a reliable IT support company in Australia. We offer various services, including cloud services, cybersecurity solutions, business continuity planning, help desk support, managed IT services, and strategic technology consulting.
Our employees have the qualifications and skills to take care of your IT network and infrastructure. We tailor our solutions to fit the unique needs of clients. Our staff knows about widespread scams in Australia, and they can help you identify and defend against them.