The Wrap - Australia's fastest technology roundup

The Wrap – Scams, spam, and what to do if you’re conned

This week on The Wrap, we’ll talk all about scams, speaking to experts from Sophos and Trend Micro to get a gauge on how they work and how to avoid getting scammed. All in five minutes.

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Transcript

It’s the middle of November 2021, and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and this week has been a special kind of a week, because it’s been a week to talk about scams. That should be every week.

Every week we should talk about scams, because every day, there are lots of people seeing scams, getting scammed, dealing with the repercussions and the fallout from scammers scamming.

It’s nearly the end of 2021 and already this year, Australians have reported losses amounting to nearly $250 million dollars… and that’s just from what was reported to the ACCC’s Scamwatch project.

Scams are happening in so many ways, from people tricking unsuspecting mobile users into installing malware to phishing for their details on a fake version of Australia Post, MyGov, PayPal, Facebook and more. We’ve all heard about someone needing to change their password because they clicked on something or worse.

So this week, we’re going to delve into scams and spam and all sorts of nasties, turning to the pros to help you learn the difference and what to do.

Tim Falinksi, Trend Micro
Both spam and scams are tools used to try to deceive us into either providing our identity information or financial information, so therefore the cyber criminals are able to take over our lives and extract money from us.

That’s Tim Falinski, the Managing Director of Trend Micro’s consumer division, who told us what the difference between the two were in plain English.

Tim Falinski, Trend Micro
The difference between them is spam is quite generalised. Whereas a scam is very, very malicious in its intent because it copies quite closely things such as your NAB or Westpac or another financial institution, and is trying to therefore extract information about something that you would deal with on a day to day basis.

Both scams and spams are irritating, but scams have the tendency to do real damage, and they’re happening everywhere.

Your computer is one place, but they’re also a big problem on your phone. In fact, they may be a bigger problem on your phone than anywhere else, given we all rely so heavily on them.

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Aaron Bugal, Sophos
Typically mobile devices are the primary target for scammers, where they may send you SMS messages, emails, and even phone calls which start the phishing process and attempt to reel you in on their ruse.

That’s Aaron Bugal from Sophos, a Global Solutions Engineer from the company, who told us the mobile is a big battleground for scammers, and they’ll do anything they can to get you to click. But don’t fret if you do, because if you fall for a scam, there are things you can do.

Aaron Bugal, Sophos
There’s many amazing resources available to help. If you’ve been victimised by a scammer, the first thing you should do is report it to the relevant authority. If you’ve lost money, you should definitely go to your financial institution as soon as possible. You can then report the scam to the ACCC via scamwatch.gov.au. And that will help not only others, but it can also allow the government to take action against the scammer with detailed actions that you can take to help remediate against any negative effects.

The most important thing here to remember is not to remain silent. Being scammed by criminals is really serious and remaining silent only empowers them.

Protecting your finances is important, as is reporting the scam, but you’ll also want to think of those other potential details you might have unwittingly opened yourself up to in the process.

Tim Falinski, Trend Micro
Stage two is to think of any other accounts that may have been given access to inadvertently. For example, if you believe you’ve been scammed into giving away your email address and password, don’t only think of your bank that may have had access to that. Think of all the different services you use that use that same combination of password and email address and ensure that you go through the process, changing the password on all of those accounts, not just the one where you believe you could have been hacked.

And if you’re just concerned you could fall for a scam, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Anyone can be scammed, from the people who know very little to the experienced pros. Scammers are getting better at this, and while the telltale signs are still really specific, every security expert has largely given the same piece of advice.

Aaron Bugal, Sophos
Be mindful of any unsolicited or unexpected calls or messages arriving to your device, if it sounds too good to be true, or if it tries to pressure you into doing something immediately, just don’t. Unknown contacts, misspelt messages or links to website can be telltale signs that something is not right and should be cautiously reviewed before being actioned.

There’s rarely such a thing as a free lunch, or a free iPhone, or anything else a scammer might be offering you, so don’t fall for it, and be sure to talk about it with others.

You can more or less guarantee everyone else is getting the same scams sent to them, so don’t be embarrassed. The more we talk about scams, the more we can do to stop them from getting through.

For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode appears every week on LiSTNR, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time. Stay safe, stay sane and take care.

Leigh :) Stark

A technology journalist working out of Sydney, Australia, Leigh has written for publications including The Australian Financial Review, GadgetGuy, Popular Science, APC, PC & Tech Authority, as well as for radio and TV since 2007.

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