Cybercrime – what you can do to help prevent it

Cybercrime – what you can do to help prevent it

23 October 2014

The widespread use of the internet has brought with it a raft of crimes that are being committed in cyberspace.

These cybercrimes range from traditional criminal activity such as fraud, money laundering and theft, through to ‘new’ crimes including hacking, cyber-bullying and identity theft. The extent of cybercrime in Australia is difficult to quantify as it is generally under-reported.

Financial institutions now have the ability to deliver a vast array of products and services online. The benefits and flexibility provided to customers through this new technology is unfortunately also being exploited by those seeking to gain an advantage through dishonest behaviour. 

This could be you

Recently a Boyce client was a victim of cybercrime. Whilst searching for an email in his deleted items he noticed a sent email that looked unusual. It was an email purportedly from him to his bank with a signed authority requesting a large sum of money be transferred from his business cheque account to pay a bill.  Unfortunately he hadn’t prepared this email and he had no knowledge of it.

On investigation our client found that somebody had hacked his email account and found his business letterhead and signature on previous emails to the bank.  As it turns out the cybercriminal had been swapping emails with our client’s bank for three days leading up to the request to transfer funds. Luckily no funds were transferred.

What you can do to help prevent cyber-crime?

The threat of cybercrime continues to increase due to the huge number of financial transactions that now occur electronically with businesses having less ’face  time’ with customers.

Below are 11 tips to help prevent you from becoming a victim of cybercrime.

  • If you see a suspicious email, instant message or web page asking for information, don’t respond.
  • Don’t share your passwords with anyone (even family and friends). Legitimate sites and services will never ask you to reveal your password.
  • Avoid using birth and anniversary dates as part of your passwords and hide your list of passwords in a secure location.
  • Don’t click on links in emails from people you don’t know.
  • If you get a message from someone you know and it doesn’t sound like them or it has suspicious links attached, delete it immediately and let them know (via another channel) that their email or messaging account may have been compromised.
  • Ignore pleas for help – or investment offers – from people you don’t know. Even pleas from people you do know should be verbally verified if a request for your money is involved.
  • Ignore any email request asking you to verify your account details or password; no bank or financial institution will ever legitimately ask you for such details via an email.
  • When banking online, or using other financial services, type the relevant URL (web address) into the address rather than relying on links (which could redirect you to scam sites).
  • Also check that URLs in your address bar look correct. A website that’s supporting financial transactions should have a URL that starts with https:// to indicate the site is encrypted and therefore safer.
  • Don’t buy from websites that demand direct money transfers. Genuine retailers will accept credit cards, BPay or PayPal, all of which provide you with some redress if you are scammed.
  • If possible, shred any document that contains personal information or account details. Small shredding machines are now available at reasonable prices.

If you are concerned about the security of your financial transactions in cyberspace speak with your local Boyce accountant about ways we may be able to assist.

SOURCE:  IOOF, August 2014


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