An alarming sign of the times, the Scamwatch data found:

1.Investment scams $328 million.
2. Romance scams $131 million.
3. Business email compromise or payment redirection scams were the third most damaging scam, resulting in $128 million of losses.
4. The ATO was the most commonly impersonated government agency in 2020, 96,220 scams up 12%.

  • Black summer bushfire crisis, scammers targeted Australians by offering a bonus on their tax returns.
  • Scammers then took advantage of COVID-19 stimulus measures, including JobKeeper and the early release of super, by issuing text message and email phishing scams that appeared to originate from the ATO or myGov which sought to harvest people’s personal information including myGov login credentials, banking details, driver licences, passports and credit cards.
  • Tax time 2020 then saw scam reports double, with scammers using a fake tax debt to threaten people with arrest if they did not pay it immediately. The scam remained one of the ATO’s highest-reported scams until the end of 2020.

5. Scammer’s preferred to contact victims by phone, 47.7%,  Email 22%,  Text messages 15%.
6. Men and women equally and most likely to be reported by people aged between 55 and 64.

This is a very important issue which is crucial to your business and personal wealth plan:

  • Our businesses rely heavily on our IT and it is the most important function of a business owner to keep all your business, staff and client information secure
  • If your data is lost or compromised, it can be very difficult and very costly to recover or you may find your business ransomed or a fraud occurring.
  • This growing threat of identity theft and cybercrime can be mitigated with a combination of proactive and software defensives.

Take the time to review VJC Cyber security tips:
Good businesses are proactive!

Ensure your passwords are strong and secure

1.Regularly change passwords and do not share them.

  • strong passwords with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols are harder to hack.

2. Use multi-factor authentication where possible.

  • This requires users to provide multiple pieces of information to authenticate themselves – for example, a text message to your phone when logging in to a website.
  • this puts an additional layer of security on your accounts making it harder for others to access your account

Remove system access from people who no longer need it

  • former employees, this is a common cause of identity security or fraud issues for businesses.
  • staff that have changed positions and no longer require access.

Do not use USBs or external hard drives from an unfamiliar source

  • These may contain malware, Use a spam filter on your email account

Do not open any unsolicited email messages.
Teach your staff to:

  • be wary of unfamiliar email addresses or nonsense ones
  • not download attachments or open email links from suspect emails and even if they are from a person or business you know.
  • Spam emails can be embedded with malware and can be used to trick you into providing information, paying fraudulent invoices or buying non-legitimate goods.

Be vigilant about what you share on social media

  • Keep your personal information private.
  • Be aware of who you are interacting with.
  • Consider what information you share.

Scammers can take information you publicly display and impersonate you or your business.
Monitor your accounts for unusual activity or transactions

  • Check your accounts (including bank accounts, digital portals and social media) for transactions or interactions you did not make, or content you did not post.

Use a PO Box, or ensure your mail is secure

  • Mail theft is a leading cause of information security breaches.

Do not download programs or open attachments unless you know the program is legitimate

  • You risk malware

Do not leave your information unattended

  • Secure your electronic devices (such as phones or tablets) with passcodes wherever you are.
  • Securely store portable storage devices (such as USB and hard drives) when not in use.

Don’t use public wireless networks use your hot spot to secure your network.

  • Avoid making online transactions while using public or complimentary wi-fi.

Good business also invest in defenses
Invest in security measures and update regularly

  • Ensure all devices have the latest available security updates.
  • Run weekly anti-virus and malware scans.

Malicious software (malware) has increased unfortunately it is too easy to accidentally click on an email or website link which can infect your computer and business without you noticing.

  • It can cost your business a lot of money to repair the damage.
  • Stolen information could be used to commit crimes, often in your business’s name.

You may then find yourself subject to Ransomware where the criminals can:

  • lock your computer until you pay a fee to them
  • install software which provides access to your bank accounts so they can steal your business’s money.

Call to discuss any concerns or for more information.

Adrian & the amazing VJC team

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.