WESTVILLE COMMUNITY POLICING FORUM
Extracted from the Australian Competition and Consumer Affairs website ScamWatch
What is card skimming?||Warning signs||Protect yourself from card skimming||Do your homework||Decide||Report them|
What is card skimming?
‘Card skimming’ is the illegal copying of information from the magnetic strip of a credit or ATM card. It is a more direct version of a phishing scam. The scammers try to steal your details so they can access your accounts. Once scammers have skimmed your card, they can create a fake or ‘cloned’ card with your details on it. The scammer is then able to run up charges on your account. Card skimming is also a way for scammers to steal your identity (your personal details) and use it to commit identity fraud. By stealing your personal details and account numbers the scammer may be able to borrow money or take out loans in your name.
Do your homework
If you are using an ATM, take the time to check that there is nothing suspicious about the machine.
Ask yourself if you trust the person or trader who you are handing your card over to. If a shop assistant looks like they are going to take your card out of your sight, ask if it is really necessary.
If an ATM looks suspicious, do not use it and alert the ATM owner.
If you are in a shop and the assistant wants to swipe your card out of your sight, or in a second machine, you should ask for your card back straight away and either pay with a cheque or cash, or not make the purchase.
If you think you have seen a card skimming scam, you should contact the bank, credit union or credit card provider that has been targeted.
If you think your card has been skimmed, contact your bank or credit card supplier immediately to report it.
Warn your family and friends about the scam.
Requests for your account information ('phishing' scams)
Chain letters & pyramid schemes
Chain letters and pyramid schemes are some of the oldest scams going around. They can cost a lot of people money, as they spread like a virus. People who become involved in these scams can only make money by scamming other people.
Illegal schemes that always collapse when the supply of victims dries up, leaving nearly everyone involved much worse off.
Health and medical scams
These scams try to make money by exploiting people who have a medical condition or who are worried about their health. The scammers offer solutions or cures where none exist or promise to simplify complex health treatments.
Like the other scams featured on SCAMwatch, health and medical scams can end up costing you a lot of money. However, these scams can also do significant damage to you health.
If you try a phoney medicine or treatment, use a dangerous weight loss technique or take medicine that you buy from an unqualified internet scammer, you could be putting your health at great risk.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is a type of fraud which involves stealing money or gaining other benefits by pretending to be someone else. Having your identity stolen can be both financially and emotionally devastating.
Identity theft can occur in many ways from somebody using your credit card details illegally to make purchases to having your entire identity assumed by another person to open bank accounts, take out loans and conducting illegal business under your name.
How does identity theft work?
Identity theft works in a range of ways - from crude methods to well organised scams.
Many of us have a wealth of personal information readily available - cards in our wallet, mail, public records, information saved in our computers and information posted on social networking sites.
Identity theft can happen easily and quickly. By leaving your personal information readily available, scammers will have easy access to this information. For example, scammers will pay people to rummage through rubbish tips and steal letters (‘dumpster diving’) to collect personal information. However, despite your best efforts, a determined scammer can also create elaborate and cunning plans to trick you into providing your personal details. For example:
By sending an email that looks like it comes from your bank, financial institution or telecommunications provider. Known as phishing scams, these emails are all about tricking you into handing over your personal and banking details to scammers. Most work by including special links in the email to take you to a combination of genuine and spoofed websites.
Phoney fraud alerts are similar to phishing scams where scammers trick you into handing over your personal details. A common fraud alert involves the scammer pretending to be from your bank informing you that your credit card or account has been cancelled because of suspicious criminal activity (various excuses are used). They will then trick you to provide account details to ‘confirm’ your identity. Bogus job opportunities are usually posted on job websites. The scammer may use or sell your personal information provided in the job application.
You get an email, SMS or a phone call out of the blue asking you to ‘validate’ or ‘confirm’ banking details.You notice that amounts of money go missing from your bank account without any explanations.
The caller pushes you to provide personal information and discourages you from checking if it’s a genuine request.You are unable to obtain credit or a loan because of an inexplicably bad credit rating.
NEVER send money or give personal details to people you don’t know and trust.If you receive a call from your bank or any other organisation, don’t provide your personal details—instead ask for their name and a contact number. Check with the organisation in question before calling back. NEVER rely on a number provided in an email or click on the provided link—instead find the contact number through an internet search or check the back of your ATM card. If you receive a request from a friend or family member stranded while on holiday asking you to transfer money to them, contact them by phone or alternative contact to verify the request is genuine before sending any money or providing personal details.
Regularly check your credit card and/or bank statements to ensure that suspicious transactions are detected.
Shred all documents containing personal information, such as credit card applications and bank statements.
Log directly onto websites you are interested in rather than clicking on links provided in an email.
Always get independent advice if you are unsure whether an offer or request is genuine.
Do your homework
Be suspicious if anyone asks you for your personal information. Scammers will use convincing stories to explain why you need to give them money or your personal details.
Always take your time to check whether it is a genuine request. Seeking a second opinion from a family member or friend can be helpful. If you are still unsure about whether an offer or request is genuine, seek professional advice from your bank, an accountant or lawyer.
And remember, a legitimate bank or financial institution will NEVER email you asking you to follow a link or asking you for personal details. If you believe the email is genuine, telephone your bank or financial institution to let them know about the email and ask their advice. DO NOT call using any telephone number listed in the email—use a number that appears on your statement or card or in the telephone book. Many banks and financial institutions now have specialised internet security staff who can help you.
You should NEVER give out your personal or bank account details to somebody you don’t know and trust. NEVER send your credit card or bank details in an email.
Don’t be tricked by an email that looks legitimate or appears to link to a genuine website. The best defense is to delete the email before you even open it and then contact your bank.
If you receive a phone call that you think may be genuine, you should not ignore the possibility that there actually has been some fraud with your bank account or credit card. Ask the caller for details, then hang up and call your bank or credit union to tell them what has happened. Make sure the phone number you ring is genuine - use a number that appears on your statement or card or in the telephone book.
If you think your identity has been misused, you should contact your bank or credit card supplier to let them know.
Tell your friends and family about the scam so they know what to be on the look out for if they are targeted.
Investment scams (get-rich-quick)
Investment scams can come in many forms—from an unexpected phone call offering an investment opportunity to an email encouraging you to buy shares that are about to go up based on 'secret' information. You could be offered early access to your super, gambling software or promised large tax deductions or
refunds. When you take part in an investment scam, you will probably lose a lot of money and may end up in considerable debt. If you invest in a dodgy tax scheme, you could also be liable to pay back any missing tax plus interest and penalties on top of losing your investment.
If you are approached by somebody out of the blue who offers you an investment opportunity, say 'No' and hang up the phone or delete the email. It is the best thing to do.
Do not rely on advice from the person trying to sell you the investment. Always seek independent financial and/or legal advice before making any investment decision.
Download our Sports investment scams fact sheet for more information. Visit the Australian Tax Office website for more information on dodgy tax schemes.
Job and employment scams
Job and employment scams target people looking for a new job or a change of job. They often promise a lot of income (sometimes they even guarantee it) for not a lot of work.
You should be very careful of someone who uses spam email or ads posted in the street to employ people. They are often only interested in earning money from you!
Lottery and competition scams (fake prizes)
Lottery and competition scams are delivered in many ways—in person, over the telephone, through the post or by email. The scammer will tell you that you’ve won something substantial (such as a large sum of money or a great prize) and that all you have to do is send them money to claim the prize.
Rather than winning a prize, you could lose a lot of money.
If you are told that you’ve won a lottery or competition and you are not sure that you entered it, the best thing to do is to say ‘no’. Hang up the phone, delete the email or throw away the letter.
ALWAYS seek independent financial and/or legal advice before deciding to send money, and never give your banking details to anybody you are not completely sure of.
Mobile phone scams
Scams that come to you on your mobile can be difficult to recognise. They might come from somebody who talks as if they know you; they might come through a 'missed call' from an unknown number that you redial; or they might be upfront about what they are promoting, but have hidden charges.
You might be offered free or cheap ring tones, or the chance to win fantastic prizes.
When you reply to these messages or calls, you may find yourself disappointed in the product or signed up to a service you don't want or cannot stop. You could be left facing a huge phone bill.
If you receive a missed call or text message from an unknown number, the best thing to do is to delete the message or ignore the call.
Always do your homework before you agree to any offer you receive over your mobile and never agree to any offer that you are not completely sure about.
Money transfer requests ('Nigerian' scams)
With the rise of internet banking it is easy to transfer money across the world in minutes. Unfortunately, this has also meant an increase in the number and types of scams that try to trick you into sending your hard-earned cash to overseas scammers.
The scammers may promise huge rewards or what looks like an easy way to make money. Other scammers trick people who are trying to buy or sell products over the internet.
Some common scams that involve transferring money are described below. Regardless of what the scammer tells you, you should be very cautious about sending money to someone you don't know. Remember that once you send money to someone, it can be very difficult to get it back—especially if they are based overseas.
The rise of the internet has opened up the world to millions of people. It is now possible to do things that were unheard of only ten or even five years ago.
Unfortunately the internet is not free from scams and scammers. Some scams are especially designed to take advantage of the way the internet works.
A lot of internet scams take place without the victim even noticing. It is only when their credit card statement or phone bill arrives that the person realises that they might have been scammed.
There are, however, several ways to protect yourself from internet scams. They are simple but essential precautions you can take because you often cannot be sure exactly who you are dealing with on the internet.
How you access the internet can also make a difference. If you take the right precautions, the chances of being scammed are greatly reduced.
Small business scams
Scams that target small business can come in a number of forms—from bills for advertising or directory listings that you never ordered, dodgy office supply offers, to false claims of government requirements needing you to send money. The best defence you have is to make your business as protected as possible—by limiting how many people have authority to buy or order anything, keeping written records of all orders and purchases and by making sure you only deal with people you know and trust.
Scams: protect your business from them is an ACCC brochure with more information and tips about common small business scams.
Don't let tactics like bullying, negotiations for a lower price or charges for unordered/unused goods affect your decision.
Do not rely on information given to you by whoever offers you a particular product or service—always seek independent advice if the product or service will involve a significant amount of money or other commitment.
More scams ...
Scammers are devious but very inventive people. They are always trying to come up with new ways to trick you and steal your money. The scams below are some of the most common scams. While they have been around for a while, these scams are often adapted to new technology as well as current trends and events.
How to protect yourself
A scammer will approach almost everyone at some stage. Some scams are very easy to spot while other scams may appear to be genuine offers or bargains. Scams can even take place without you doing anything at all.
Most scams need you to do something before they can work. You may send money to someone based on a promise that turns out to be false. You may give your personal details to people who turn out to be scammers. Some scams rely on you agreeing to deals without getting advice first or buying a product without checking it out properly.
The simple tips below will help you protect yourself and your family from scams. Scams can cost people a lot of money and cause a great deal of distress. By following these simple tips, you can protect yourself against scams.
Digging a little deeper
Protect your identity
Sending or transferring money
Dealing with a face-to-face approach
Dealing with suspicious or unsolicited offers sent by email or SMS
Protecting your business
Keeping children safe online: Cybersmart
This section is relevant to Australia only
The Cybersmart program is a national cybersafety education program managed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). It provides a comprehensive range of information, resources and presentations designed to meet the needs of children, parents, teachers and library staff.
The ACMA Cybersmart website is home to all its cybersafety resources, research and activities. For more information, visit Cybersmart or contact the Cybersafety Contact Centre on 1800 880 176 (from within Australia).
The source of this information and much more can be found by clicking on the following image.
The source of this information and much more can be found by clicking on the following image.