Keeping yourself safe online
09 August 2021
Your security is important to Heartland.
There has been an increase of cyber security threats and scams with the acceleration of technology, which unfortunately has only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Heartland we work hard to make sure your details are kept as safe and secure as possible. Our newly launched Esigning offering is another way we are keeping your information secure, more on Esigning can be found here.
With reports in the media of fraudsters and scams, it is more important than ever to remain vigilant while we are all online.
It has been reported that scammers will pretend to be from a government department such as the Australian Tax Office, large organisations such as Australia Post, or banking and other service providers. Even some of your favourite retailers could be subject to a cyber security attack.
Scams arise in many ways and are usually designed to gain personal or financial information. Ensuring you know how to identify these scams is an important part of keeping you and your loved ones safe online.
What to look out for
There are a number of ways that you could be targeted with an online scam, and it may not always be obvious, so staying alert with the communications you receive, is important.
If you were not expecting to be contacted by someone (or an organisation), or you have any cause of suspecting its authenticity, then don’t respond to it.
Never give out personal information and if you have received a call from someone, offer to call the organisation back using their publicly available contact details. This way you can be sure that you are speaking to the right person, who can then let you know whether that contact was legitimate.
Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and many organisations will appreciate you bringing these scams to their attention so that they can protect themselves and other customers too.
With COVID-19, there have been several scams circulating around Australia – including vaccination scams, Government impersonation, and superannuation scams. These and many other types of cyber crime are often sent through a text message or email.
If you receive a text message or email that you think looks suspicious, look out for spelling and grammar mistakes, branding inconsistencies, or a design that doesn’t quite look right. Never click on or open any links or attachments, as this could be malicious software (malware).
A malware attack could install software on your computer that allows scammers to access your files or watch what you are doing on your computer, where they could steal identify or financial information.
For emails, it is important to check the email address it came from (sometimes this can be masked with a legitimate looking name – so take care!).
Cyber criminals are continuing to become more sophisticated, so if you are unsure and think the email could be important, remember it is always best to get in touch with the organisation separately, via the publicly available contact details on their website for any type of communication.
If the offer or promotion sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Many scammers entice their victims by offering some sort of benefit that can be hard to resist, this could be:
- Lottery scams such as scratchies and prize draws
- Unexpected money scams such as an inheritance
- Investment scams such as superannuation or shares
- Romantic scams such as catfishing
These sorts of scams are designed to prey on vulnerable people and generally ask for an upfront sum of money (or your bank account details) to claim their offer. The victim may even apply to take out loans to pay for this, which is why as a financial provider, Heartland is extremely vigilant when it comes to the loan purpose and how we pay out the funds.
How do I keep my family and I safe?
Make sure to keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, an up-to-date firewall, and only buy computer and anti-virus software from a reputable source.
Top tips for online security
- Never give out personal information or passwords
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
- Look for the signs that indicate it could be a scam
- If you suspect a scam, never click any links or open attachments
- Contact businesses using publicly available contact details
- Use security software
How do I find out about new scams?
Check out the government’s Scamwatch website. Here you will find up to date information and news on the latest scams, and more information on computer security. Cyber.gov.au also has a wealth of information on how to protect yourself against cybercrime and identify threats.
Information provided is accurate as of 9 August 2021 and may change from time to time.