Protect Yourself Against Cybercrime
Thanks to the advent of the Internet, cybercrime is becoming more inherent in the lives of everyday Australians.
In January this year alone, SCAMWATCH reported that $5,789,529 was lost to cybercrime, with a total of 11,051 total reports of online scams in Australia, and 9.1% of the reports received resulted in financial losses.
What is Cybercrime?
Hackers, phishers, illegal online activity – cybercrime encompasses a lot!
It’s become apparent that global scammers are increasingly targeting Australians, as Australia has been identified as one of the top ten global hosts for cyber threats
Cybercrime is any sort of crime that is targeted at computers or related devices, for example hacking. Any illegal activity where a computer or related device is integral to the offence is also considered a cybercrime, for example, online fraud, identity theft, and the distribution of child exploitation material.
Cybercrime not only causes financial grievances for those involved, it also takes an emotional toll on victims, as they may feel as though their privacy has been violated or that they are powerless to protect themselves.
Unfortunately, as our reliance on technology increases, the risk and associated costs of cybercrime rises with it.
Common Scams to Look out for
Online scammers make their money by taking advantage of innocent individuals, and their scams can range from cat fishing to fake charities asking for donations.
For instance, in 2015 the Herald Sun reported on a woman who lost $260,000 to a man she believed wanted to marry her. Having met through an online dating site, Plenty of Fish, she quickly fell in love with the man who claimed to be a wealthy engineer from England. However, things quickly went sour after she sent him a substantial amount of money before he disappeared.
Once she knew she had been scammed, she found multiple profiles under different names matching her ‘beau’ on dozens of dating websites.
This highlights the importance of being extremely careful when handing out personal information and transferring money to ‘unknown’ sources.
Other common scams include:
- Unexpected money or winnings: usually delivered in the form of an email, these online fraudsters try to trick you into handing over your personal details under the pretence of an inheritance or a lottery type prize. These are just two examples of the false pretences scammers will create to lure you in.
- Buying or selling: which covers everything from false billing to online shopping scams, with ‘sellers’ hosting fake e-commerce websites.
- Fake charities: where scammers impersonate legitimate charities to try and get donations
These are just a fraction of the scams that are currently circulating the web. For more information on online scams to look out for, visit the SCAMWATCH website.
Other Forms of Cybercrime
Online scams aside, cybercrime encompasses a host of illegal activities, including, but not limited to:
- Online child and sexual abuse material
- Attacks on computer systems
- Prohibited and offensive illegal content
These forms of cybercrime include anything from distributing, or even just viewing child pornography, uploading content on illegal torrenting websites, or any material advocating a terrorist-related act. If you do come across any content that you think may be illegal or prohibited, make sure you report it to the eSafety Hotline. If the content you’ve inadvertently found is considered extremist, such as terrorist training materials or content encouraging people to commit acts of terrorism, contact the National Security Hotline.
What Can You do if You’ve Fallen Victim to Cybercrime?
If you’ve fallen victim to a scam, or even if you suspect someone is attempting to scam you, there are a number of authorities you can contact.
Banking – Your financial institution (you may need to cancel your credit cards and block your bank accounts, depending on the type of information the scammer has access to)
Cybercrime – Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network
Financial and Investment Scams – Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Fraud and Theft – You local police, as well as a personal investigator
Tax Related Scams – Australian Taxation Office
Other Scams – ACCC via SCAMWATCH
You may also want to go through and change all of your online passwords, and warn anyone else in the online community about your experience and potential scammers/fake websites etc.
If you want to investigate any incident of cybercrime further, contact the highly trained team at In Depth Investigations today. We will work in collaboration with the local authorities to get to the bottom of the crime.