Police issue warning after 'dramatic increase' in scams

POLICE are warning businesses and individuals to be on guard after an increase in scams targetting Queenslanders. 

Acting Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence of the Fraud and Cyber Crime Group said there had been a "dramatic increase" in the number of scams over the past month. 

"The theft of personal and business data will continue. Whether these thefts be aimed at the individual or at larger organisations as part of strategic ransomware attacks, these crimes are highly profitable for criminals and will without question, continue to rise," Acting Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence of the Fraud and Cyber Crime Group said.

Recent attacks have included not only malware and ransomware attacks, but attempts to steal identity (through phishing, hacking, remote access scams and document theft) and cyber attacks on business and Government agencies.

"The offenders behind these attacks are relentless and while we continue to see the same scams reinvented or reinterpreted, there are always new ones that leave us very concerned," he said.

Identity theft continues to target businesses but more specifically individuals through phishing (links in emails), hacking (gaining access through security scams), and remote access scams (you allow a "helpdesk" to take control of your computer).

"In the business sector "wire scams" have also been a recent concern for us. Wire scams involve scammers using legitimate email accounts (often representing to be a senior member of the business) and requesting transfer of money," Acting Detective Superintendent Lawrence said.

Resources such as Scamwatch (www.scamwatch.gov.au) and Stay Smart Online (www.communications.gov.au/what-we-do/internet/stay-safe-online) are recommended sites to keep up to date with current scams and threats. Both offer advice on how to protect yourself and what to do if you have been targeted.

Simple steps to protect yourself include:

• Do not open attachments or click links in emails or social media messages that are unsolicited. Delete them.
• Be wary of any free downloads or website access. They may install harmful software without you even being aware.
• Keep your security up to date on your electronic devices.
• Never send money or give credit card, passwords, online account details or documents to anyone you do not know.
• Be careful of the information you post on your social media profile. A birthday, middle name and address can be enough for a scammer to build a profile on you and steal your identity.

Most importantly, if you have been the victim of cybercrime, report it to ACORN (Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network) http://www.acorn.gov.au/

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.



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