An increase in online scams and frauds reported to authorities in the leadup to Christmas has reinforced the importance of safe online security practices.
The Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) received 2,608 reports of online scams and fraud from 1 December to 21 December 2016.
There were 1,415 reports to ACORN from 1 December 2015-1 January 2016 and 1,199 reports from 1 December 2014-1 January 2015.
So how can you protect yourself against frauds and scams? At Stay Smart Online, we recommend you download My Guide from our website. My Guide is a personal security guide that features tips and techniques to help you stay secure when working, socialising or just browsing online.
- Issues covered in My Guide include:
Being careful about posting to social media any photos or information about yourself, your friends or your family. You may be breaching your privacy and the privacy of those close to you. Unscrupulous people may take advantage of this information to undertake a range of unwanted activities, such as identity theft.
- Using strong passphrases (a series of words that may be longer, easier to guess and harder to remember than traditional passwords) to protect your online accounts from people who want to steal your information.
- Treating any unexpected message with caution. The message may be designed to trick you into giving out sensitive information such as your bank account details, credit card numbers and passwords/passphrases
- Keeping to trusted websites so you minimise the risk of inadvertently infecting your phone or computer with malicious software such as ransomware (malicious software that locks your device and requires you pay a ransom to its distributors to be unlocked), spyware or viruses.
- Protecting your online banking and other sensitive information by applying security updates (and using up-to-date security software on your device)
- Applying the same rigour to securing your mobile device as you do your personal computer. Doing so minimises the risk of people gaining unwanted access to your phone or tablet and any sensitive information those devices hold.
My Guide also includes a list of organisations that you can report scams, cybercrimes and identity theft.
For more information on staying safe online in 2017, visit the Stay Smart Online website.
The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone’s circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.