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27 November 2023

It’s Scams Awareness Week: learn how to protect yourself from impersonators

How much information are you sharing about yourself online while you’re using social media apps and shopping sites? Sometimes it can be more than you realise. Unfortunately, this could potentially spell trouble for you as cybercriminals and scammers are using increasingly sophisticated ways to access and exploit our information.

Scams Awareness Week, running from Monday 27 November until Friday 1 December, is an annual campaign to highlight the importance of protecting your personal information, and the theme for this year focuses on impersonation scams. These types of scams are rampant at the moment, with stories of dodgy text messages, fake online buyers and even phony ‘sponsored’ Facebook ads currently circulating in the media.

With 72% of all scams reported to Australia’s Scamwatch including some form of impersonation – that is, when scammers pretend to be a trusted business, buyer, friend or family member to steal your money or personal information – it is so important to be aware of your online behaviour and how to limit any damage should you get caught up in a scam.

How to protect yourself from scams

This Scams Awareness Week, we focus on simple ways you can keep yourself, your loved ones and our communities safe while we connect online. Overall, remember that if something looks phishy or an offer seems a bit too good to be true, it probably is.

Sushmitha Kishore Kumar SinghCheck out the Deakin Life Instagram channel this week too, as we’ll hear more insights about scams from Deakin students and Sushmitha Kishore Kumar Singha certified cyber crime intervention officer registered with National Security Database (NSD) India

Currently studying a Masters in Business Administration (Cyberlaw) at Deakin, Sushmitha has worked with thousands of students and parents on various issues like videogame addiction, toxic social media trends, financial fraud, teen suicides, blackmails, and paedophiles. She has also worked with the Indian army in training soldiers and their families on cyber safe practices. She launched the company DIGISAFE India alongside other experts who work towards protecting young adults from cyber crime and digital addiction, via education and timely interventions.

Here, we cover three main things to consider to stay safe online and what you should do if you think you’ve been scammed.

1. Stay alert

Above all, be a little suspicious! View all communications with a critical eye, especially if someone is asking you for information or payment.

Sometimes scammers will create a sense of urgency in their requests to get you to act without thinking. Remember to stop and ask yourself: ‘Who’s really there?’

2. Report scams immediately

If you think you’ve gotten caught up in a scam, you need to act fast. Tell your bank so they can block your account and prevent scammers emptying your precious savings.

You should then report cyber security incidents on the ReportCyber webpage or contact the Australian Cyber Security Hotline at 1300 292 371 within 72 hours.

3. Get personalised help

IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber support service. It’s a free planning service where, if you’ve been scammed, they can help you limit any damage and recover your lost identity or money.

Want more information?

And please remember: don’t be embarrassed to report any suspicious activity – your experience may help prevent someone else from being scammed and stop cyber criminals in their tracks!

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