January 2024 Newsletter
Cyber Crime and Cyber Scams some basic things to be aware of
Here we are in 2024, it is our delight to share another year with you.
It would be a great foundational start to arm yourself with a few tips and bug repellent measures in relation to the increasing cybercrime that abounds.
You may have already heard about big organisations such as Medibank, Optus and many others getting hacked, you may also know some friends that this happened to.
It is not about being anxious or concerned but about being sensible and alert including never clicking on suspicious links, not allowing yourself to be bullied or pressured, having good passwords on your computer and security software in place.
Below are a few examples of cases we heard last year:
🔹 People received an email from Australia Post about a delivery they expected, but it was not from Australia post. It was a phishing email to obtain more information about them.
🔹 An elderly client received an urgent call from their grandson’s wife that her husband had had an accident and urgently needed $3,000 or bad things would happen to him. The client lost that money, the call was a hoax and not the wife, but the caller knew enough to make it credible and then mercilessly pushed the client.
🔹 A friend responded to a scam SMS and gave out their tax file number. The criminals changed the tax lodgement to get a rebate and directed it to their bank account.
🔹 You get a call and the person at the other end asks “Are you (your name)?”. If you answer ‘Yes’, that recording is then used to show that you have verbally agreed to all sorts of deals. A common scam in the US.
🔹 A friend in another country recently lost more than half a million dollars during a property transaction after following banking instructions received from their solicitor, but it was not from their solicitor. The email was intercepted and the account number was changed. They were not able to retrieve the stolen funds.
🔹 Artificial intelligence can now use a voice recording of any words and then use that recording to “speak” as if that voice is speaking. This is in its infancy but we can see many successful scams coming out of that.
🔹 You clicked on the wrong link and somebody logs your keystrokes for a period and then takes over your system when you are not on the computer, having learned through observation how they can take advantage of you. That is expensive to do and reserved for larger institutions but individuals with wealth could easily be the target.
🔹 That means that any email from anybody could be from a third party impersonating that sender. Not common – for example many companies take measures to make the simple variation of this trick impossible – but if somebody silently takes over somebody’s email account they can then send “genuine” emails from that taken over account.
🔹 Even without taking over an account people can send emails using your email address or you can even receive an email from what appears to be your own address.
This is a tiny selection of scams – there are countless varieties and for sure you will have already received some fake emails, texts and phone calls.
What to do?
We have procedures in place so that all valued clients should only make financial transactions when they have received instructions both in writing and verbally and compare the two. If somebody deposits a large amount of money we either do it via direct debit where the provider takes the funds or we ask the client to make a small deposit first and then we and they check whether that deposit has arrived safely in their legitimate account before proceeding with the balance.
What can you do?
Just because someone asks or demands something it does not mean you need to reply. Always check first and do not be pressured. This applies to phone, SMS, computer, in person… everywhere.
If anybody asks you for money, no matter how urgent, no matter how important, double-check. Ask for their phone number, then check your diary to see whether that is the correct number. If you don’t have that entry, try to phone the person in strife yourself – they are usually perfectly fine and the urgent call is a scam – ask a relative to help you. If all else fails, ask for the hospital or police station or any other third party where the person in trouble is and verify that that person (your grandson or anybody else that is the subject of the call) is actually at that hospital / police station etc.
MOST IMPORTANT: Do NOT let yourself be bullied.
I learnt this lesson as a 24 year old when I had my first high paying job and a friend of a friend recommended some investments. When it came to transferring the money I saw the investment agreement for the first time and it turned out that 90% of the investment was ‘fees’!!! I still ‘invested’ and lost it all. It was 3 weeks of income and the best value lesson in my life. I found out that it was possible to bully me and the great benefit of the lesson is that I closed that door. It is very hard to bully me now.
The main thing is to be aware that these things happen and are increasing.
In our business we use a team of cyber professionals to assist us to do the maximum we can to protect your data and privacy in addition to our systems and network.
We remain dedicated to be here and on call to support you at any time and very much look forward to sharing another prosperous year with you.
With love from the Team at In Your Interest Financial Planning,
Christoph, Nicola, Marian, Deryk, Ann-Marie, Alvin, Jessica, Lin and Yvonne
Dr Christoph Schnelle
Life Risk Insurance Specialist
SMSF Specialist Adviser
TEP Trust and Estate Practitioner
PhD Health Sciences and Medicine
GStat Graduate Statistician
Accredited Estate Planning Professional
Accredited Aged Care Professional
Authorised Representative 308223
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