Tagged With scams

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It’s tech security PSA time. A recent story in The New York Times provided fascinating insight into the ongoing evolution and expansion of fake tech support scams. The “classic” routine, where a window pops onto your computer screen offering technical support for a “virus” or other urgent problem you didn’t know about, has not only stayed in circulation — it’s a growth industry.

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As the end of the year draws nearer, reports of scams have increased with scammers using increasingly sophisticated methods to part the unaware from their money. Recent scam reports take advantage of seasonal trends, with an uptick in scams impersonating the ATO or appearing to be about a package delivery. Here's all the dodgy emails and phone calls to look out for.

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Crowdfunding campaigns are effective ways for people to help others in need. But news that a couple conspired with a homeless man to create a heartwarming Good Samaritan story to scam people out of money highlights the importance of vetting viral feel-good stories before donating.

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If you have engaged with internet culture at all in recent years, you have probably come across the term “catfish”, first coined in the 2010 documentary of the same name. A catfish is someone who uses false information to cultivate a persona online that does not represent their true identity. This commonly involves using stolen or edited photos, usually taken from an unwitting third party.

Catfish will use this information to create a more appealing version of themselves, then engage in continued one-on-one interactions with another person (or people) who are unaware of the deception.

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If you think too hard about the sharing economy, things get weird. We’re perfectly willing to get in a stranger’s car (Uber) or stay in a stranger’s home (Airbnb) — both of which we can arrange via smartphone app. These services offer certain trust markers, such as verification and user reviews, but that doesn’t guarantee a positive, or even a safe, experience, as two guests at a Los Angeles Airbnb discovered recently.

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Celebrity endorsement scams are getting big in 2018, according to the ACCC. Reports of these types of scams have increased 400 per cent this year, and the amount of losses reported have gone up a huge 3800 per cent. As for why - the ACCC has called internet giants Facebook and Google to task for their role in displaying ads that link back to these scams.

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Despite the influx of dating apps that have exploded onto the scene, Tinder is still the app of choice for meeting potential lovers today. The problem is the app has become a feeding ground for scammers creating fake profiles solely for the purpose of extracting money from users. Here are some tips to help you weed out the fakers on Tinder.

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Travel inherently includes some security risks, because part of security is knowing how things are supposed to work, so you can recognise what's sketchy. Go to a new city and you might fall for a taxi scam, get pick-pocketed — or get your money stolen by an ATM skimmer. We talked to Daniel Smith, security researcher at cloud security company Radware, about how to avoid sketchy ATMs when you travel.

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Buying on Amazon is increasingly an exercise in trust. While the company has taken steps to mitigate the spread ofsponsored product reviews and fake ratings, illegitimate sellers are still finding ways to scam consumers. The latest trick? Gaming Amazon’s popularity ranking system and taking over the “Best Seller” tag — arguably a pretty important marker when it comes to buying something with which you may be unfamiliar.

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Scammers are impersonating NBN staff, demanding payments in iTunes cards and other gift cards, for services that will never be connected. It's not a new scam but with the NBN in the news, criminals are using the infrastructure company as a cover to go after vulnerable people. Here are some simple tips you can pass on to family and friends that may be vulnerable.

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We hear the same messages from large tech companies and security specialists all the time. Don't click on links from unknown and untrusted sources, and don't fall for over-the-phone scams. Many banks and other companies never send links in email in order to "train" us in being cyber smart.

But every now and then, companies do dumb things that leave us scratching our heads. Like what Microsoft did with a friend of mine earlier this week.

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released their annual Targeting scams report as they kick off Scam Awareness Week. They found that more people than ever are being scammed and that the amount of money we're losing is up on previous years with the average loss pegged at $6500.