With over 40,000 scam emails reported so far this year, BMO is urging clients to heed the Scamwatch warning to be extra careful this silly season. Lately we have seen an email scam linking to a fake PayPal website, illegitimate ATO phone calls, NBN scams and fake emails claiming you’ve won an iPhone.
BMO Accountant Oliver Holcombe said that phishing scams are the most common type of scam.
“Phishing scams are an email scam, with the scammers pretending to be from a legitimate business (eg. Bank or ATO). They ask for you to confirm your personal details or claim there has been suspicious activity on your account.
Mr Holcombe said there are a few things you can do to protect yourself during this busy period.
“Look at the actual email address (not just the name) and most of the time you can see the difference. For example, if the legitimate email maybe ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, the scammer may use an address like ‘email@example.com’. Do not click on any links or open any attachments, delete the email. If you end up on a website you are unsure about, look for the secure symbol. Secure websites can be identified by the use of ‘https:’ rather than ‘http:’ at the start of the internet address, or a closed padlock or unbroken key icon at the bottom right corner of your browser window. Never provide your personal details, account or credit card information if you receive an email or phone call. Try to change your email and computer passwords regularly” Mr Holcombe said.
Mr Holcombe said while some of the scam emails are getting more and more legitimate looking, it’s important to be vigilant and suspicious of any unusual activity.
“If you’re ever unsure try to find out independently by calling the institution yourself. Don’t let your hard earned dollars add to the $72 million lost in scams this year or next”. Mr Holcombe said.
If you have been the victim of a scam, please report your scam to www.scamwatch.gov.au and also to your bank and the organisation the scammer claimed to be from.