Keep Yourself Safe
Identity theft and misuse impacts Australian and New Zealanders of all ages, ethnicity and backgrounds. Our research tells us that there are particular ‘at risk’ groups within the community. The elderly are one such group.
Why is this? The elderly can be investors of superannuation and criminals see this as an incentive to commence a relationship to get at your hard earned savings. The elderly can, at times, be more trustworthy and less technically aware of how new and emerging technologies can be used for criminal purposes than other groups within the community.
iDcare does a lot of community awareness raising with groups that have a high elderly membership base. If your community group wants to organise a presentation to raise awareness on how to prevent and respond to identity theft please refer to our Media & Engagement page.
Common methods used by identity thieves and criminal syndicates that specialise in identity theft include:
- Telephone account saving scams
- Sick or ‘at need’ relative and friend scams
- Break and enter thefts
- Microsoft scams – cold calling individuals within Australia and New Zealand by thieves impersonating Microsoft are currently escalating. The scam has been operating since at least mid-2009.
Here’s how a typical engagement with the criminal commences:
- They call you. At times there may be a time delay and a strong sense the caller is from overseas, typically the sub-continent.
- They introduce themselves as being a representative from Microsoft or a Microsoft contracted third-party.
- They describe to you that your Internet connection or security or a related issue with your on-line environment requires an immediate update to fix a serious problem.
The theft can occur in a number of ways, including:
- Working with their victims to gain on-line and remote access to their home computer or device.
- Working with their victims to facilitate the downloading of a computer virus that will “scrape” the contents of your computer (including personal information).
- Ask victims to provide their credit card and other banking details.
iDcare receives many calls from victims of Microsoft scams that have had their personal information compromised. Here’s what we recommend if you receive a call:
#1 – Hang up – Microsoft don’t call you. The sooner you end the call, the better.
#2 – If you are too polite and don’t just hang up – Don’t provide any personal information! In fact, you should consider adopting this rule for all unsolicited calls and door stop visits. Be an active not reactive consumer. Criminals love polite reactive consumers.
#3 – Don’t go online with them. Don’t let them guide you to a web page they recommend. If they send you an email – Don’t open it. Delete it and clear your trash can.
#4 – If you have gone too far and given them personal information and have had them guide you to a web page or email they have sent, chances are your computer has been compromised. Go to our first aid section on what to do or call us.
If you are concerned about your personal information or that of your family or friends, call us (1300 432 273 Aus 0800 201 415 NZ).
Official Microsoft Safety & Security Site: http://www.microsoft.com/security/default.aspx
Microsoft “Avoid tech support phone scams”: http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx
*Note that the Microsoft official site is US-centric and the reporting function only relates to instances of fraud affecting US customers.