Happy New Year, here is a refresher on VJC advice to protect your personal identity and avoid online/direct scams.

With so much reliance on the web it is inevitable that we are seeing a growing number of attempts to defraud people.

These range from fake emails, texts and even phone calls from agencies like the ATO, Centrelink, other government departments, banks, utilities companies etc.

  • These attacks are designed to look and feel like they are from the actual organisation.
  • Like most things these attempts vary in quality in terms of appearance and details e.g. pixelated logo’s and the email address of the sender.
  • Never provide your personal details to anyone online or verbally, the above institutions will not call and ask you for these and you should be wary if they do.
  • Delete these types of email and ignore calls and texts.


Tips to help protect you:

  • Strong passwords are a must, best not to use the same password in many places and changing the same password by 1-2 characters is not ideal.
  • Protect your banking access and all passwords, try not to email or text sensitive information like your tax file number or BSB and bank account number.
  • Perhaps consider a password manager so you only need 1 super strong password.
  • Use 2 factor authentication, this is an online option for many banks and government etc.
  • Its best to never use public Wi-Fi and never do your banking or other password sensitive things like logging into your email or other things.
  • Be cautious when allowing access to your computer remotely, it is unavoidable these days e.g. Apple Support is reputable and often logs in remotely for their screen sharing support.
  • Be cautious not to lose your personal information:
  1. Beware what information you disclose on your websites and social media e.g. full names, birthdate or address etc.
  2. Mail missing from your letterbox, it is better to opt for online statements.
  3. Phone not working, porting is an example of how a scammer will take and transfer your phone number then try to access your banking etc. by accessing your SMS notifications.

If you think you have been breached contact the institution/s to immediately shut things down.

Some useful information to refresh your Cyber protection memory:

What is phishing?

Phishing is a technique used by cybercriminals to obtain sensitive information such as passwords, internet banking logins and credit card details by sending an email or message pretending to be from a trustworthy source such as a bank, utility provider, or government agency. This contact may also take place in the form of a phone call or SMS.

Cybercriminals send out millions of these fraudulent communications to random email addresses and phone numbers in the hope of luring unsuspecting people into providing their personal banking details.

Examples of how scams typically happen

  1. Remote access – A cybercriminal may call you and claim to be from a utility company, such as your internet provider, and ask you to download a remote desktop application that provides access to your computer for the purpose of internet maintenance or removing a virus. They may then direct you to log into your online banking where they will then facilitate payments to a third party without you knowing.
  2. Email compromise – A cybercriminal posing as a known supplier may contact you with changed account details. In situations such as this, it’s a good idea to give them a call to verify the details over the phone before making a payment to a new account.
  3. Investment – A cold call from someone claiming to be a stockbroker or portfolio manager could in fact be a cybercriminal. They may provide a convincing investment strategy and ask via phone or email for multiple payments.
  4. Romance –  A cybercriminal may contact you via social media and after spending time building a rapport, they may claim they need funds and ask you to make a payment into their account.

General Advice warning: the information in this article is general in nature, it is not advice specific to your needs. If you want to act upon the information in this article then you should seek advice from a qualified professional. VJC WM accepts no liability to any party for acting from this information unless they have sought advice in a formal engagement with VJC WM for this purpose.