It pays to be vigilant when you receive an unusual phone call or text.
According to Scamwatch, Australia’s organisation dedicated to protecting consumers against scams, half of the 286,622 scams reported in 2021 were contacted via phone, and almost a quarter received a text message.
So if you have the slightest doubt, hang up the call or delete the text, and do not click on any links. You can always follow up by contacting the organisation directly through official channels to confirm the legitimacy.
In addition to hanging up, here are some more tips to protect yourself from phone scams.
Tips for spotting a scam phone call
Receiving a phone call from an unknown number asking you for financial details like your credit card or bank number is a major red flag, especially if they are trying to rush you or sound threatening or aggressive. Our advice is always to hang up immediately and then call the business via official channels to confirm.
Other red flags to be aware of are as follows:
The caller has a robotic voice
An automatically generated phone call, known as a robocall, is used by scammers to contact as many numbers as possible with minimal effort. For example, you may hear a pre-recorded message or a robotic voice, then be asked to dial a number to continue and provide your financial details.
Poor call quality or an overseas number
If an international phone number contacts you and the caller has a poor-quality phone line, this could be a sign of a scam call. Don’t answer, and don’t call the number back. Some Australian companies may use overseas call centres; however, the calls still tend to come from a local number.
Requesting access to your computer
Scammers may ask for remote access to your computer under the guise of providing technical support. They may include scare tactics to get you to comply, such as saying something is wrong with your computer or that it has a virus. Once they have access to your computer or laptop, they can access your data and may even ask you to pay a fee for their service.
Protect yourself against fraudulent text messages
In the digital age, almost everything is online, making life convenient but also making us vulnerable to text scams. For example, it’s common to get text ‘reminders’ to pay bills; however, we recommend against ever clicking on a link in a text message asking you for money or payment. If you’ve received a dodgy text message, block the sender on your phone, so they can’t text you again.
Text message red flags to look out for
- It asks you to click a link
- Has spelling or grammatical errors in the message
- Invites you to respond or call back
- Asks for personal details
What you can do to be safer
- Choose strong passwords and PINs and update them regularly
- Regularly check for security updates to keep your smartphone and computer safe
- Never share your login details with anyone
- Don’t download anything that seems suspicious
- Only use reputable platforms like PayPal, Stripe, Eway, or Amazon to make a payment when shopping online. Check to see if the site displays some kind of Secured or Trusted badge
What to do if you’ve been scammed
- Contact your bank or financial institution immediately
- Contact the local police if there is fraud or theft involved
- Report the scam to Scamwatch
- For further help on what to do, please visit Scamwatch – where to get help
Don’t ever feel ashamed if you fall victim to a scammer. They’ve become more sophisticated and prolific since Covid, and everyone is a target. The best thing you can do is to report it quickly so the authorities are aware and can take action to catch them and to prevent it happening to someone else.
Need help staying safe?
At Computer Cures, our expert team can help you to keep your personal information secure and help protect you against phone and text scammers. Give us a call on 1300 553 166 or fill out the form on this page and we’ll get back to you ASAP.