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13 Jun 2024

How to protect yourself from phishing scams

CitiPhishing scams are a common and devastating form of cybercrime that can result in financial losses and identity theft. In this article, we'll discuss common signs of phishing scams and what you can do to protect yourself.

Common signs of phishing scams

Scammers often send messages by email, social media, call or text that appear to come from a legitimate business, like a bank or internet service provider. These messages may:

  • Contain typing errors and grammatical mistakes and may not address you by your proper name.
  • Be designed to look genuine, copying the format and branding of the organisation they are pretending to represent.
  • Include a link to a fake website that looks like the real deal but has a slightly different address.
  • Ask you to update your account information or unblock your account, or it may claim that the bank or organisation is verifying customer records due to a technical error.
  • Ask you to fill out a customer survey and offer a prize for participating. If you click on the link provided or provide your personal details, the scammers can steal your personal and account information.

How to protect yourself from scams

  • Do not click on links asking you to provide or update personal or account information.
  • Access websites by typing the domain name into your browser, rather than clicking on links in messages.
  • Stop and think before responding to unsolicited calls, emails, or SMS, and do not give out your personal or account details.
  • Be mindful of fake retail websites and online or social media offers. If you believe you have clicked on a suspicious link or provided personal or account information to a fake website, contact your financial institution immediately.
  • Update your password regularly and make sure your contact details are correct.
  • It is also a good idea to have up-to-date anti-virus software on your computer.

What to do if you are targeted

If you have suffered a financial loss due to a phishing scam, it is important to report the scam to your financial institution. It is also important to be mindful that you may be targeted by scammers again, and to be cautious of operators claiming to recover your lost funds for an upfront fee.

Support services and resources

If you have been impacted by a phishing scam, it is important to seek support. Talk to your GP, local health professional, or someone you trust. You can also contact support services such as ID Care, Lifeline, or the National Debt Helpline. Stay up to date with the latest trends in scam activity by registering for the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Alert Service and visiting Scamwatch and the Australian Cyber Security Centre. The Australian Banking Association has also launched a Safe & Savvy guide for older Australians to help them avoid financial abuse, scams, and fraud.

In conclusion, phishing scams are a serious threat, but by being aware of the common signs and taking steps to protect yourself, you can reduce your risk of being targeted.

For more information about scam prevention visit our ‘Common Scams’ page.