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Scams targeting Australian remote communities are on the rise. Speak out, warn others, and receive support.

Cristina POPOV

August 04, 2023

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Scams targeting Australian remote communities are on the rise. Speak out, warn others, and receive support.

WA Consumer Protection says the number of scams affecting Australian consumers is on the rise, with online shopping scams making up the highest number of scams, and investment and hacking scams accounting for the highest losses.

However, only 13% of scam losses overall are reported, even less in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which have become cybercriminals' favorite targets as people living here rely more on online purchases while being less informed on online safety best practices. Reported scams take various forms, from phishing attempts via email and text messages to impersonating authorities, shipping container scams, fake disaster relief offerings, and gift card purchasing scams.

"Indigenous Australians reported losses of $5.1 million in 2022 – up five percent compared to 2021, while the median loss for Indigenous Australian scam victims rose to $754, from $650 reported in 2021," says Catriona Lowe, deputy chair of ACCC, which runs the national ScamWatch program.

WA Consumer Protection encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to come forward and share their stories of being scammed so they can better understand and combat the issue.

How to protect yourself against scams:

  1. Learn common signs of scams: amazing opportunities to make/ save money, gifts, offers, requests for setting up new accounts, money transfers, personal information, urge to act quickly, and access links/ attachments to benefit from the "offer."

2. Verify Information: Always verify the information before clicking on any links or sharing personal details. If you receive an unexpected request, contact the organization directly using the official contact details.

3. Use Secure Networks: Ensure you're connected to a secure network or secure it yourself by using a VPN. Public Wi-Fi networks can be easily exploited by cybercriminals.

4. Use security with advanced anti-phishing protection. Bitdefender Total Security sniffs and blocks websites that masquerade as trustworthy to steal financial data such as passwords or credit card numbers.

5. With Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection, you can check if your personal data is already exposed on the web and could be used by hackers to steal your identity or money.

Where to report a scam if you fell victim:

You can report a scam to the National Anti-Scam Centre on their Scamwatch website, using this form.



Cristina POPOV

Cristina is a freelance writer and a mother of two living in Denmark. Her 15 years experience in communication includes developing content for tv, online, mobile apps, and a chatbot.

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