From cold call scams promising incredible investment returns, to receiving a call from someone claiming there is a problem with your internet connection or computer, we all need to be aware that we can be targeted by dishonest people. But how do we protect ourselves from these devious scams, Queensland Police say?
Investment cold calls
A scammer claiming to be a stock broker or portfolio manager calls you and offers financial or investment advice. They will claim what they are offering is low-risk and will provide you with quick and high returns, or encourage you to invest in overseas companies. The scammer’s offer will sound legitimate and they may have resources to back up their claims. They will be persistent, and may keep calling you back.
The scammer may claim that they do not need an Australian Financial Services licence, or that that they are approved by a real government regulator or affiliated with a genuine company.
The investments offered in these type of cold calls are usually share, mortgage, or real estate high-return schemes, options trading, foreign currency trading or some type of predictive software claiming to give you an edge in sports betting or horse racing. The scammers will often claim to be offering tax free returns.
• Do not give your details to an unsolicited caller or reply to emails offering financial advice or investment opportunities – just hang up or delete the email.
• Be suspicious of investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk.
• Check if a financial advisor is registered via the ASIC website. Any business or person that offers or advises you about financial products must be an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence holder.
• Do not let anyone pressure you into making decisions about your money or investments and never commit to any investment at a seminar – always get independent legal or financial advice.
Technical support cold call scams
There are several variations of this scam but they tend to follow a predictable pattern which might be similar to the following examples:
- Someone calls you claiming to be from a well-known business or organisation.
- The caller claims there is something wrong with your computer or internet connection. They may tell you your computer is infected with malware or it has been compromised in some other way. They are likely to use technical language in order to scare or intimidate you into following their instructions.
- The caller convinces you to either install an application or allow some other form of remote access to your computer.
- Upon gaining access to your computer, the caller may claim they have confirmed the problem and ask you to pay a fee to fix it.
Technical support scams play on people’s fears. They are particularly dangerous as they not only steal victim’s money, but they leave people vulnerable to more harm by exposing their computer to ongoing remote access. Using this access, criminals could install malware (such as keyloggers) that capture online banking details, or they could try to carry out other scams against the victim.
If you have doubts about any caller who claims to represent a business or organisation, hang up and call them back using contact details from an independent source – find their number using the phonebook or the official company website.
- Remember you can still receive scam calls even if you have a private number or have listed your number on the Australian Government’s Do Not Call Register.
- Scammers can obtain your number fraudulently or from anywhere it has been publicly listed (such as in a phone book).
- Always keep your computer up to date with the latest software updates, anti-virus software and a good firewall.
- Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
- Never give a stranger remote access to your computer, even if they claim to be from a reputable business.
R U in Control of who is calling you this Christmas…………………