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Top 6 'protect yourself' tips to leave scammers out in the cold

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1.   Beware of any request for your details or money

Scammers will try to trick you into handing over your data by using the names of well-known companies or government departments. If you think it’s a scam, DON’T RESPOND. Use the phone book or an online search to check the organisation’s contact details. NEVER use the contact details provided in the original request.

2.   Keep your personal details secure

Your postal mail and your online presence are the first place a scammer will look to piece together your details. Lock your mailbox, and shred your bills and other important documents before throwing out. Be careful sharing information about yourself online, including social media, blogs and other online forums.

3.   Think twice about what you say and do in an online environment

Whilst there are times when your personal details are required for legitimate reasons, such as signing up to a new service or buying something, always check that the person or organisation is who they say they are. Stop and think before filling in surveys, entering competitions, clicking on links or attachments, or even ‘befriending’, ‘liking’ or ‘sharing’ something.

4.   Keep your mobile devices and computers secure

These are a treasure trove of personal information for scammers. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to a scammer – always use password protection, don’t share access with others (including remotely), update security software and back up content. Protect your Wi-Fi network with a password and avoid using public computers or Wi-Fi hotspots to access online banking or provide personal information.

5.   Choose your passwords carefully

Passwords are often the only barrier between scammers and your valuable information. Set and use strong passwords which are difficult to guess, and change them regularly. A strong password should include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for every account/profile, and don’t share your passwords with anyone.

6.   Get a copy of your free credit report

Your credit report contains information on your credit history. You can get a free copy every year to check that no one is using your name to borrow money or run up debts. Visit ASIC’s MoneySmart website to find out how to get a free copy of your credit report

      If you think your banking details have been misused, you should contact your financial institution immediately to let them     know.

More information

For more information on how to get smarter with your data visit www.scamwatch.gov.au