Watch out for scammers who try to take advantage of the coronavirus or people who say you’re entitled to a tax refund or you need to pay a tax debt at this time of year.
Scammers are very opportunistic and can take many forms. Be wary of offers to assist you access your superannuation or high-return investment opportunities. Find out how to spot common scams and protect yourself online.
Scammers are also exploiting the coronavirus pandemic with a whole range of new tricks, including fake sales of medical supplies and bogus government relief schemes. Common methods to prey on people include ‘phishing’ emails, authorised bank transfers and schemes involving fake buying or selling of goods or services, alongside more sophisticated ‘payment diversion’ frauds, designed to coax businesses to part with large sums of cash.
Extra vigilance is required as to which links in emails or mobile phone text messages you click on. If you get suspicious messages, you can report it to Scamwatch.
Stay Smart Online provides simple, easy to understand advice on how to protect yourself, as well as up-to-date information on the latest online threats and how to respond: https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/
Online Security Tips for Working From Home
While working from home can help slow the spread of the coronavirus, it brings new challenges: juggling work while kids are home from school; learning new software and conferencing programs; and managing paper files at home.
As you’re getting your work-at-home systems set up, IT and security experts suggest the following for protecting your devices and personal information.
- Start with cybersecurity basics. Keep your security software up to date. Use passwords on all your devices and apps. Make sure the passwords are long, strong and unique: at least 12 characters that are a mix of numbers, symbols and capital and lowercase letters.
- Secure your home network. Start with your router. Turn on encryption (WPA2 or WPA3). Encryption scrambles information sent over your network so outsiders can’t read it. WPA2 and WPA3 are the most up-to-date encryption standards to protect information sent over a wireless network. No WPA3 or WPA2 options on your router? Try updating your router software, then check again to see if WPA2 or WPA3 are available. If not, consider replacing your router.
- Keep an eye on your laptop. If you’re using a laptop, make sure it is password-protected, locked and secure. Never leave it unattended – like in a vehicle.
- Securely store sensitive files. When there’s a legitimate business need to transfer confidential information from office to home, keep it out of sight and under lock and key. If you don’t have a file cabinet at home, use a locked room.
- Dispose of sensitive data securely. Don’t just throw it in the trash or recycling bin. Shred it. Paperwork you no longer need can be treasure to identity thieves if it includes personal information about customers or employees.
- Follow your employer’s security practices. Your home is now an extension of your office. So, follow the protocols that your employer has implemented.
For more tips about security using web conferencing systems like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting and Cisco WebEx, read this guidance at: https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/news/stay-safe-and-be-tele-aware