The Rise of Text Message Scams
One of the most significant changes in the world of online scams is the prevalence of text message scams. These scams, also known as SMS-based scams, have skyrocketed in recent years. The ACCC's report revealed that SMS scams were the most common method used by scammers in 2022. A whopping 79,835 people reported falling victim to SMS scams, constituting 33% of all reported scam cases.
If you want to protect yourself from SMS scams, treat every text message with suspicion. Even messages from what appear to be legitimate sources could be scams. Avoid clicking on any links provided in SMS messages. Instead, access the official website of the business or organization and sign in with your existing credentials to verify the message's authenticity.
Fortunately, the Australian government is taking steps to combat SMS impersonation scams. They are proposing an SMS Sender ID register to make it more challenging for scammers to impersonate reputable businesses.
Older Australians Are More Vulnerable
Contrary to the belief that the online world is primarily a young person's domain, older Australians are increasingly falling victim to scams. In 2022, Australians aged 65 and over lost at least $120 million to scams, while those in the 18-24 age group lost $16 million. Older individuals may be more appealing targets for scammers due to their potential lifetime savings and perceived lack of tech-savviness.
To protect themselves, older Australians should take the same precautions as everyone else. Be cautious, ask questions, and take your time to evaluate any messages or proposals that come your way. Avoid making hasty decisions that scammers hope to exploit.
Protecting Against Identity Theft Scams
Online scams can also lead to identity theft, and it's essential to safeguard your personal information. Start by being selective about sharing your data online and avoid revealing unnecessary personal details, like your address, on social media platforms.
Perform a password audit to ensure you're not using the same password for multiple accounts. Using a password management app can help you generate and store complex, unique passwords. Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible, but consider using an authenticator app or hardware-based 2FA for added security over SMS-based 2FA.
Regularly review and update your account information, as scammers often rely on victims' lack of vigilance. If you notice any suspicious changes, contact the service provider immediately through official channels to verify and rectify any unauthorized alterations.
Remember that these precautions are not limited to government services like MyGov but apply to all online accounts, such as banking and social media. Vigilance and a proactive approach to digital security are your best defenses against evolving online scams. If you need help, speak to one of our team members at Blue Mountains Computers today for advice and support to protect you.