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Help protect yourself from ID Fraud

Posted in 'Identity Theft' by Paul Anderson Riley

05 April 2016

Checking your credit report can often be a useful way to help monitor fraud, by ensuring that you recognise the entries recorded in your name. However, as fraudsters diversify their methods and disguise this in many different ways, it is important to be aware of these tactics to reduce the possibility of being the victim of these criminals.

Cybercrime can start by a fraudster soliciting information from email, social networking, web sites, apps and chat rooms, in order to gain details to a build a portfolio to commit further fraud. Where the victim is not a Commonwealth Government department or a Commonwealth Authority, the jurisdiction for the online fraud will be with the state or territory police in which this was committed. For fraud committed against a Commonwealth Government department or Commonwealth Authority, the Australian Federal Police will investigate.

If you have reason to believe you have been targeted by a fraudster online it would be advisable to report this to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) - you can access their website at www.acorn.gov.au. Reports made through ACORN may then be referred to the police for further investigation.

Internet banking is now a key part of day-to-day life and allows us to keep on top of balances, transactions and savings on a much more regular basis without the need of visiting a branch. Online banking can be used by a fraudster following the solicitation of information in order to transfer or remove funds from an account without being physically present. A scam artist may obtain this information through the hacking of a computer, tablet, smartphone or other mobile device that is used to access online banking facilities.

As mobile apps and online banking are now well protected by technology, rather than hacking these systems scam artists will try to obtain information so that they can login in a seemingly legitimate fashion. A fraudster will typically pretend to be a bank or institution and request information as part of routine checks or updates. If you are ever unsure if it is the official organisation that is contacting you it would be advisable to tell them you will call them back directly using a number obtained on the official website. An organisation is unlikely to call you directly and ask for confidential information such as account numbers or pin numbers.

A good way to protect your phone, tablet or computer is to lock this with a unique code or password, this will protect any personal or confidential information stored on your device.

Another type of fraud is known as ‘Phishing’. Phishing is the process of using spam to access other people’s information fraudulently, this term is used most regularly with regards to spam emails. Fake links and attachments will often be able to hack a consumer’s computer or pose as a bank in order to obtain this confidential information. We would advise to double check with a company if they have sent you an attachment or have asked you to click a specific link. Having anti-virus software installed on your computer will also provide an additional level of protection again viruses and Trojan bugs.

If you know anyone from vulnerable groups in society who may not be as aware of you of these issues we would recommend making these scams and acts of fraud known. Often scam artists will seem convincing and this is why a large number of people have been the victim of fraud. Report any fraudulent or phishing emails to the organisations they are posing to be, this will help them to alert this to any other customers who may be targeted.

Email scams will often include financial gains such as bank transfers, lottery winnings or a large inheritance, these are now common knowledge but the scam attempts still continue. These will usually ask for the victim to cover administration charges or provide bank details in order for the larger transaction to take place. Many fraud prevention services and advisors suggest that if it is too good to be true it normally is. The ScamWatch website provides experiences of fraud and helps to highlight the good from the bad.

Another useful website to use that will help to identify, report and protect against fraud related incidents is the www.scamwatch.gov.au website. This website details common scams, golden rules of protection and where to report scams. By following some of the basic steps outlined on this website a consumer can help to reduce any consumer based scams.

If you have accessed your credit report analysis through checkmyfile and are unsure if any entries relate to fraud, please message us through the secure message centre where our team of trained analysts can assist you and provide guidance on fraud prevention. We also offer a free identity fraud checker, which may be useful in preventing fraud.

Paul Anderson Riley

Paul has a degree in Human Geography and has a keen interest in both listening to and playing music, soccer and surfing.

Paul is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

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