Every day as more people become connected with the internet to communicate and conduct business, the prevalence of online scams has been on the increase. With the latest statics release by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), online fraud had increased 16% last year, with about 20,000 people reporting becoming victims of online fraud and being exploited up to $70 million from Australians last year.
The ACCC last week launched an Australian Consumer Fraud Taskforce 2010 Fraud Week, issuing two new publications for online shoppers and small business owner’s advice and tips to help avoid scams/online fraud such as:
– Protecting your identity online
– Sending and transferring money safely
– Dealing with suspicious or unsolicited offers sent by email
– General online golden rules
The ACCC publications will be available free of charge from the ACCC website or by calling the ACCC Info line on 1300 302 502.
The basic ACCC internet tips to help steer clear from any online scams or fraud:
• Talk to your internet service provider about spam filtering or, alternatively, purchase spam-filtering software.
• If you want to access an internet account website, use a bookmarked link or type the address in yourself: NEVER follow a link in an email.
• Install software that protects your computer from viruses and unwanted programs and make sure it is kept up-to-date.
• Beware of free websites and downloads (such as music, adult sites, games and movies). They may install harmful programs without you knowing.
• Check the website address carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with very similar addresses.
• Never enter your personal, credit card or online account information on a website that you are not certain is genuine.
• Never send your personal, credit card or online account details by email.
• Try to avoid using public computers (at libraries or internet cafes) to do your internet banking.
• Do not use software on your computer that auto-completes online forms. This can give internet scammers easy access to your personal and credit card details.
• Choose passwords that would be difficult for anyone else to guess.