How to prevent personal fraud this Christmas
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How to prevent personal fraud this Christmas

How to prevent personal fraud this Christmas

Australians love Christmas. In 2015 we spent over $47 billion during the pre-Christmas trading period alone.

But that rapid and eager festive spending means shoppers are more susceptible to hackers and thieves. Last year, criminals stole $363 million from Australian credit cards, and one analysis estimated $34.9 million of that was more at risk of being lost because of the Christmas season.
Learn how to protect yourself, your finances and your security with these insights into the latest security and fraud trends.

Bank branch fraud

Although many of us prefer to do our banking online, fraud committed at actual bank branches continues to rise. According to Veda, fraudulent credit applications through bank branches have risen by 13 per cent in 2016.
Protect your details at all times. Don’t give out important information, including driver’s licence numbers, passport numbers or any other identifiers, unless there is a valid reason for you to provide it and avoid sending via email as banks will never request information in this way. Additionally, shred paper material that includes personal information before disposing of it – that way, potential attackers can’t use it to steal your identity.

Sophisticated phishing attacks and ransomware

The overall email spam rate has remained steady since 2013, but phishing emails are now often asking for a lot more than internet banking credentials, they’re seeking credit card and other personal information. 

In Australia, over $375,000 had been lost through phishing scams in the first three months of 2016 alone. Ransomware is the number one malware these days, and has increased by 35 percent. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to important files such as photos and documents and demands payment in order to unlock them. Common examples of spam emails include ATO, Australia Post and the Traffic Infringement Office.
Phishing attack perpetrators may try to contact you at your personal or work email addresses. Skilled and even unskilled hackers sculpt their messages to look like legitimate correspondence from within your organisation.

Always remember, if you were not expecting the email, check with other sources and confirm identities before sharing your personal information - even if it looks like the person asking is from your HR department. 

Data shared through the Internet of Things

 The Internet of Things has taken off, and this Christmas there will be countless smart gadgets to buy that can connect with household devices and sync with your phone.
Besides enjoying your new smart tools and gadgets, make yourself aware of how your privacy is being protected as your data gets shared across devices. As PwC points out, businesses understand – and are addressing – the security problems these devices represent.
Intel research shows nearly half of Australians don’t know if they’re taking the right precautions with their devices, but protecting yourself isn’t difficult.
Change your Wi-Fi password often. If you have multiple devices and computers linked in the cloud, review them to make sure you only give the right people access to your files. Also, make sure your mobile phone includes a lock that requires a PIN or authentication to access content.

Skimming remains a problem

Skimming, where a card reader is tampered with to collect customer details, is still a threat. According to the Australian Payments Clearing Association, skimming fraud increased by 77 per cent to $28.1 million in 2015. When accessing banking machines, you should cover your PIN with your other hand to prevent cameras or 'shoulder surfers' from obtaining your information. 
Keep your card in sight at all times while shopping, and avoid suspect-looking ATMs. It’s also a good idea to check your card statements to ensure there are no unexpected purchases.
Redirection sites on the rise

Planning a holiday this year? The ACCC warns people making holiday plans to be extra vigilant when on sites, such as Airbnb, with $80,000 already being reported lost. 

“Watch out for scammers advertising accommodation deals in great locations at cheap prices. When you go to book a break, scammers direct you away from the site and ask you to pay them directly using money orders or wire transfer services such as Western Union and MoneyGram,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard warned.

As ever-advancing payment methods and retail technologies make our lives easier, we need to take extra precautions to protect ourselves. Fraud doesn’t discriminate – so stay vigilant and enjoy the holiday season by being safe and secure with your spending.

Other related blogs you might find interesting.....

  1. How to protect against identity theft infographic
  2. Maximising online security while banking
  3. How to keep your finances and ID secure online
Disclaimer: The views expressed, and any advice given, in the above article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of RaboDirect. We recommend that you seek professional advice before making any decisions relating to the matters discussed in the article.

Note: Have you noticed a change in our name? That’s because we recently changed from RaboDirect to Rabobank. Of course, you will continue to experience our great service and award winning savings products under the Rabobank name, however you may see mentions of RaboDirect in our blogs published prior to April 2019. If you have any questions please reach out to our Online Savings team.

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