Our susceptibility to scams always increases at this time of year.
Our susceptibility to scams always increases at this time of year.

BYTE ME: ’Tis the season to be wary of scammers

AS CHRISTMAS rapidly approaches, we need to focus on keeping our money in our bank for the items we either need or want, rather than giving it to a computer scammer who will happily lie, cheat and steal to whisk it away from us.

’Tis the season to be jolly and, unfortunately the season for scammers.

Around this time of the year, our susceptibility to these scams always increases. This is due to several reasons, including the time constraints that we face to complete projects before end of year.

We also see a spike in email usage because of the increased communication between friends and relatives, and we see an increase in online shopping and freight deliveries.

Scammers prey on all the above conditions and are once again out in force to deplete our bank accounts, so a word of warning at this stage is well warranted. We all need to adhere to a few golden rules while using our internet-enabled devices.

If a deal seems to good to be true, it usually is not true (beware).

Unknown emails with attachments from entities that we have not dealt with before should be treated as malicious so try calling the entity on the phone or do some internet research to see if other people have found them to be genuine or scammers.

Random Windows popping up when you are browsing the internet usually indicate that your PC has some Malware on it, and it needs your attention or a professional clean.

Banks will not send you emails asking you to verify who you are or they are going to close your account. These are scamming emails.

The ATO will send you correspondence in the mail if you are running late on a payment and about to be arrested. In fact, they will rarely arrest you as this stops you from earning money and paying tax.

Genuine credit card merchants will not call out of the blue offering overpayment refunds if you can only provide them with your credit card details. This is one of those too-good-to-be-true fairy tales.

Telstra will not call to cut off your NBN and demand credit card over the phone. Rather, if you are ultra-late with a payment, they will more likely just cut off your NBN and wait for your call.

Always keep your computer or phone/tablet up to date by downloading any operating system updates as soon as possible.

Use a reputable anti-virus like Trend Micro to protect your internet-enabled devices.

Err on the side of caution rather than bravado when checking emails and doing online transactions.

If you are feeling particularly jolly about the forthcoming festive season, please refrain from downloading free Christmas screen savers or clicking on the multitude of ‘funny’ web links that your friends are going to be sending around.

On a final note – do you have a complete and recent backup of everything that is important to you as so many tell us that they do not need a backup system but squeal at the thought of losing everything from their PC.

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to bytemearticles@kerrsolutions.com.au and Bruce is still contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street, or on 4922 2400.