Protect Yourself from Scams and ‘Stay Smart Online' This Festive Season

Posted by Link4 Team on 06/12/2017

While the festive season is generally one of the happiest times of the year – all of this can come crashing down if you become a victim of cybercrime.

The number of scams in Australia is known to soar during the festive season and into the new year period. In fact, in December 2016, 7,153 scams were reported to Scamwatch. This was the highest amount of scams reported in one month across the 2016-17 financial year. Individuals lost $2.3 million during this period and this number only increased in the new year with almost $3.2 million lost to scams in January 2017.

Last December, 7153 scams were reported to Scamwatch with Australians losing $2.3 million during that month.

Cybercriminals ‘socially engineer’ emails to lure people in. They carefully craft these malicious emails so they ‘appear’ to be from someone you would usually trust. With more time, money and effort being directed at these techniques, it is getting harder to determine who these emails are really from.

At Link4, we want to help protect you from this surge in scams by offering some tips and tricks to keep your systems, data and devices safe and secure over this holiday period.

Common Scams

Have you ever received an email and it has looked a little suspicious? Sometimes these emails can sneak into your inbox and leave you quite confused.

With an influx of emails during the festive season, we can often fall for fake gift certificates, e-cards, parcel notifications and even invoices. Such ‘fake’ items will either be included in the email or be attached as malicious software (malware). When you click on these emails or attachments, malware can be released, effectively locking up your systems. If the malware stays in your system, it will exploit your data and software over time. Read more about email scams and detecting them here.

‘Fake’ invoices continue to circulate around this time of year as well. There have been notable invoice scams in the past, so it’s important to be careful when opening invoices that don’t seem quite right.

Keeping Safe

It’s easy to keep yourself or your business safe during the holiday season and if something does go wrong it’s easy to report any cybercrime.

If you do receive any suspicious emails, here are some handy tips:

  • If a suspicious email appears to be from a legitimate company, contact them to confirm if they sent the email.
  • Be careful: don’t use any contact details provided in a suspicious email. Go to the company’s normal website and verify their contact details before contacting anyone.
  • Be wary of .zip and .exe attachments or links in emails as they may contain malicious material.
  • Not sure if an e-card or gift card is from someone you trust? Check with the gift giver before you attempt to open them. You can always ask your friends and family to tell you if they are sending anything via email first, and then you can look out for these emails.
  • Don’t make any payments to an invoice you are unsure of. Check with the provider to determine whether it is a real invoice or not.

Protect Yourself with e-invoicing

One way to make sure you are receiving safe invoices is to e-invoice with Link4. When you invoice with Link4, you will always be receiving invoices from providers you trust – because you approve these users first. e-invoices are delivered in a secure and protected environment where suspicious attachments and malicious emails can’t be transferred.

Report Cybercrime

If you have fallen victim to cybercrime, remember to report it to authorities.

To report a scam to your local police, simply call 131 444.

You are encouraged to report the following:

  • Cybercrime to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).
  • Financial Scams to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
  • Other Scams to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch.

Read more about avoiding invoicing scams here and read more about Link4’s partnership with Stay Smart Online here.

We wish everyone a safe, happy and hopefully scam-free holiday!

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