Tis The Season to Watch Out for Scams

The North Shore Police Command has reported another text message scam.  ITC has put together a list of recent scams reported by the North Shore Police Command and also a reminder about the WhatsApp Hi Mum or Hi Dad scam.

Also in the last week or so WhatsApp Hi Mum scam is ramping up.  If you have a family WhatsApp group remind everyone not to do anything unless they call their relative on their usual number and not a random number.  The scam might say hi mum I have a new phone or Hi Mum I have lost my phone.

The “HI Mum” scam has resulted in millions being transferred to scammers.

One Neutral Bay parent was scammed for $10 000.  Read more about the scam here.

This is what the scam will look like

Scam Text – From Someone Pretending to be a Bank

A Castlecrag woman has lost over $39,000 after falling victim to a fraud.

On Friday, 18th November 2022, the woman received a text message purporting to be from her bank, advising her that a deposit she had made was on hold and requesting she contact her bank on a number provided.

The woman contacted the number provided in the text message and confirmed her bank account details over the phone. The victim was then told that a direct debit had been set up on her account to transfer $9000 on the 2nd of December to an account not known to the victim.

Further to this she was then told the only way to protect herself would be to close her current account and open another. The victim agreed and was told she would first need to increase her transfer limit to $40,000 and then transfer the money out of the existing account into another account which was not owned by her. The woman then made three transfers totalling more than $39,000. At this stage, the woman became suspicious and terminated the call.

As Police investigate, they are reminding the public to be wary of who is contacting them both via text and phone call. Financial institutions will never ask you to transfer money into an account that does not belong to you.

How to Protect Yourself from Text Scams

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has the following advice:

Scammers use fake numbers so you can’t tell who’s calling or texting. If you don’t know who’s calling your phone, don’t answer. Let the call go to voicemail if you’re unsure who it is.

Be alert if the caller:

  • claims to be from your phone or bank company
  • asks for your personal information
  • wants to control or access your computer

Find out more on how to protect yourself from phone scams at: www.acma.gov.au/scams

Recent North Shore Scams

November 2022 – Phone Call Scam – Scammer Pretending to Be Telstra

At 4:00pm on Thursday 3rd November 2022, a Kirribilli woman received a phone call to her mobile phone from a person claiming to be from Telstra. The Kirribilli woman was advised that her phone had shown fraudulent activity via her internet connection. She was told that they needed remote access to her phone to clear the activity and the victim subsequently downloaded an application to her phone.

Once in the app the victim was told that it appeared her bank account had been accessed via her IP address which she was told had been made public. At this stage, the Kirribilli woman because suspicious and checked her bank account, noticing that $25,000 had been transferred out of her account without her knowledge.

Police are reminding the public to never download applications that give unknown persons remote access to their devices. Please visit https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams for further information on current scams.

September 2022 – Man Pretending to Be From a Commbank

Police are investigating after a Willoughby man was frauded $120,000.

Police have been told that on Wednesday 21st September 2022 the male was contacted on his mobile phone by another male claiming to be a “commbank resources manager”.  The male convinced the Willoughby man that he was a genuine caller from the Commonwealth Bank and asked him to download a screen share application to his computer. The Willoughby male complied with this request and the male gained remote access to his computer.

Police believe, that as a result of this remote access being given, the male obtained the victims banking login details. A short time later, the Willoughby man noticed that two electronic transfers had taken place from his Commonwealth Bank Account. The first was for $20,000 and the second was for $100,000.

As the investigation continues, police are urging the community to be wary of these sorts of scams.  A banking organisation will never call its customers and request remote access to their electronic devices. If you believe you are being scammed, we encourage you to contact your financial organisation, a trusted family member or friend, or police.

August 2022 – ATO Scam

A Mosman man has had his financial records hacked with offenders attempting to alter the man’s tax returns so that tax refunds of around $40,000 would be sent to a nominated account.

Offenders also accessed the man’s superannuation fund and attempted to move over $200,000 to a fake superannuation account.

The victim was alerted to the fraud by his accountant.  Police and the ATO fraud team are investigating the matter.

An online dealer of rare and fine wines has reported fraudulent transactions valued at over $7000.

Tips on How to Avoid Being Scammed Online

Scamwatch has the following tips to help you avoid scammers:

Be alert to the fact that scams exist. When dealing with uninvited contacts from people or businesses, whether it’s over the phone, by mail, email, in person or on a social networking site, always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Know who you’re dealing with. If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a business, take some time to do a bit more research. Do a Google image search on photos or search the internet for others who may have had dealings with them. If a message or email comes from a friend and it seems unusual or out of character for them, contact your friend directly to check that it was really them that sent it.

Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails – delete them: If unsure, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Don’t use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.

Don’t respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access – hang up – even if they mention a well-known company such as Telstra. Scammers will often ask you to turn on your computer to fix a problem or install a free upgrade, which is actually a virus which will give them your passwords and personal details.

Keep your personal details secure. Put a lock on your mailbox and shred your bills and other important documents before throwing them out. Keep your passwords and pin numbers in a safe place. Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social media sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.

Keep your mobile devices and computers secure. Always use password protection, don’t share access with others (including remotely), update security software and back up content. Protect your WiFi network with a password and avoid using public computers or WiFi hotspots to access online banking or provide personal information.

Choose your passwords carefully. Choose passwords that would be difficult for others to guess and update them regularly. A strong password should include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for every account/profile, and don’t share your passwords with anyone.

Review your privacy and security settings on social media. If you use social networking sites, such as Facebook, be careful who you connect with and learn how to use your privacy and security settings to ensure you stay safe.  If you recognise suspicious behaviour, clicked on spam or have been scammed online, take steps to secure your account and be sure to report it.

Beware of any requests for your details or money. Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust. Don’t agree to transfer money or goods for someone else: money laundering is a criminal offence.

Be wary of unusual payment requests. Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, including preloaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or virtual currency such as Bitcoin.

Be careful when shopping online. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true, and always use an online shopping service that you know and trust. Think twice before using virtual currencies (like Bitcoin) – they do not have the same protections as other transaction methods, which means you can’t get your money back once you send it. Learn more about online shopping scams.

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