In 2020, Australian people aged over 65 were scammed out of more than $30m, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ACCC website Scamwatch*.
Unfortunately, scammers are becoming more sophisticated, so it’s important that everyone takes a few simple steps to stay safe online.
Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep it up to date
Anti-virus and anti-spyware software protects your computer from unwanted programs that could harm your computer or steal your personal data. Choose a reputable company for the software and note even free versions such as ‘AVG free’ can still offer good protection.
Use strong passwords
Choose strong passwords that are a mixture of letters and symbols to protect your information online. Never use your name, names of family members, dates of birth, or simple passwords like ‘123456’, ‘qwerty’ or ‘password’. Use a different password for each site and make sure you change them regularly.
Avoid phishing scams
Phishing scams can be online or on the phone and get their name from scammers fishing for information. You may get an email, text or call that claims to be from a legitimate company such as your bank, phone provider or the Government, telling you there is a problem and inviting you to click on a link or provide information over the phone.
If you ever receive an unexpected request, check that it is genuine by calling the organisation on a legitimate number – not a number provided in the email. Never click links to log into your account as you could be providing the scammer with your log in details.
Report scam emails, texts and calls
If you receive a scam call, text or email you can help others know about the scam by reporting it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) ScamWatch, simply go to scamwatch.gov.au
Learn more about online safety
The Australian Government’s E-safety Commissioner website provides a wide range of free information and short courses to help people of all ages build their online skills and stay safe. To find out more visit esafety.gov.au/seniors