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Scams Awareness Week 8-12 November 2021

Published 8 November 2021

Protect your digital assets and identity from scammers

Australians lose millions to scammers, with year on year increases and a scam surge in 2021.1  $851 million 2020, $634 million 2019, $489 million 20183

Take some time this Scams Awareness Week to strengthen your digital defences to protect your online assets and identity. Securing your digital information and your healthcare organisation’s assets requires the same diligence as protecting your physical assets such as your home, car and wallet.

Scamwatch have reported a staggering $851 million lost to scams in 2020.2 In 2021, significant increases in losses, to the previous year, have been attributed to phishing scams (261 per cent), remote access scams (144 per cent) and identity theft (234 per cent).3

A significant cyber threat that targets the health sector is ransomware, which is generally delivered by scam phishing emails that lure recipients into clicking a link or attachment that launches the ransomware.  Once an organisation is compromised, its capacity to deliver essential healthcare services is at risk and additionally, if data is exfiltrated the privacy of personal health information could be breached.4

Scams are conducted mainly by cyber criminals motivated by financial gain; once your funds or information are stolen, they are out of your control and rarely regained.  Your personal identifying information will be sold on the black market and subsequently used to access other online accounts or networks, providing a launching pad for further cyber-attacks.

Why are scams increasing at such a rapid rate? Two key reasons:

  1. Cyber criminals are well funded, (as you can see from the amounts being scammed year on year), they are organised and conduct their campaigns with efficiency to target as many individuals and organisations as possible.
  2. Everyone is a potential target, anywhere in the world.

As a result, there is an urgent requirement for everyone to improve their digital defences and strengthen their identity protections to mitigate the risk of cyber criminals gaining unauthorised access to online accounts and personal information.

How to improve your personal cyber security

It is important to remember the role people play in the digital economy; technology alone does not always provide the protection required.  It is the interaction people have with technology which either ensures a safe transaction or a potentially stressful and compromised experience.

Individuals that remain up to date and aware of new scams or phishing campaigns and who practise secure behaviours can play a significant role in helping protect their identity and mitigate future cyber-attacks. 

Stay up to date with current scams:

Improve your scam defences:

  • Do not click on links or attachments in suspicious texts, social media messages or emails.
  • Never respond to unsolicited messages or calls that ask for personal or financial details, even if they claim to be a from a reputable organisation or government authority.
  • Independently source contact details and website addresses, rather than using information in an email or online message.
  • Implement Multi-Factor Authentication, in conjunction with strong passwords, to provide extra protection for information and accounts from unauthorised access.

If you see a scam, please report it to Scamwatch, even if you haven’t lost any money. These reports are extremely important as they provide key information about any emerging scams or trends. 

Learn more about Scams Awareness Week

To learn more visit scamwatch.gov.au and the Agency’s Cyber Security for Everyone page to access information including:

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  1. Scamwatch. News. https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/news-alerts/losses-reported-to-scamwatch-exceed-211-million-phone-scams-exploding
  2. Scamwatch. News. https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/news-alerts/scammers-capitalise-on-pandemic-as-australians-lose-record-851-million-to-scams
  3. Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. Targeting scams reports. https://www.accc.gov.au/publications/targeting-scams-report-on-scam-activity
  4. Australian Cyber Security Centre. Advisory. https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/view-all-content/alerts/ransomware-targeting-australian-aged-care-and-healthcare-sectors

Scamwatch. Alert Flubot. https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/news-alerts/missed-delivery-call-or-voicemail-flubot-scams

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