Sharp increase in reports of online scams and fraud

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Sharp increase in reports of online scams and fraud

The government issues a reminder to pay attention to security basics with an eight-step guide to online protection.

The number of online scams and frauds reported to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) rose to 2,608 between 1 December and 21 December 2016.

That's a sharp increase on the 1,415 reports for the whole of December 2015.

So you and your staff may benefit from reading My Guide (PDF), the latest guide from Federal Government’s Stay Smart Online service on how to protect yourself online in eight steps.

The steps include:

1. “Stop and think before you provide any photos or financial or personal information online.”

2. “Use strong, hard-to-guess passphrases and/or two-factor authentication where available to access your accounts.”

3. Be wary of emails – “consider who is emailing you and what they are asking you to do”.

4. “Minimise visits to unknown websites”, “avoid clickbait” and “look for the padlock symbol and ‘https’ in the browser address bar when visiting sites”

5. Be extremely careful with online transactions, such as by only accessing “your bank’s website by typing the address directly into your browser” and researching “unknown retailers and their products and services”.

6. “Turn on the security features of your mobile devices” such as setting a password or PIN that must be entered to unlock the device.

7. “Regularly update applications (including anti-virus software and plugins) and operating systems”, and “back up your data regularly and retain the backup in a safe location”.

8. Report scams and online crimes.

My Guide includes more details on each of these measures, but the recommendations are easy to put into practice, and the guide could be worth emailing to staff as a reminder to stay vigilant and pay attention to the security basics. 

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