But it is important we all take the security of our information seriously. I think it is safe to say pretty much all of us have received a message or email from someone purporting to be a bank or state/federal agency. I have even received them on my police email account!
It is easy to be fooled sometimes by these messages and just hit the link and it should become apparent not long after that the request is not legitimate. When you receive unsolicited messages or emails, in particular from entities claiming to be a bank, ask yourself a few things before considering replying or opening a link,
- Do I have accounts with that bank?
- Is there a phone number? Australian banks do not send internet links in text messages to clients, they will include a ‘13****’ number for people to ring and speak to a customer service officer (if you’re lucky, an Australian one) and sometimes a reference number to quote.
- Does the email address have the name of the bank included in the address line? ie; email@example.com. Scam emails will do not have the bank’s name in their email address they send the email from, if it does, it is an excessively long address.
Whenever there is any doubt in your mind, I suggest contacting your bank via a number you have or find on the bank’s website to verify any requests.
The same applies to scams where the sender pretends to be the Australian Federal Police or a state police. The police do not chase money down from people via emails or text message and we certainly do not threaten people with jail if they don’t hit the link and send us the money.
Be smart with your passwords. Using variations of your name, age, address and the like to construct passwords is dangerous and easy for hackers to find. Be more creative, I suggest to children to make a password out of three things such as a favourite colour, favourite food and favourite animal, three things easy for them to remember, hard for anyone not known to them to pick. Who would guess yellowsheeppasta?
Another piece of advice is to set your social media settings to private so only people you know or are friends with can access it. Criminals can gain a lot of information from what you post on social media when you allow anyone to see it. For example, one day you may post a picture of your pride and joy, an old 60’s. 70’s or 80’s muscle car and a couple weeks later, a picture of you and your family enjoying a holiday on the coast or overseas. All of a sudden, there could be someone who sees an opportunity to head out to your farm and knock off the car knowing you’re away and they won’t get caught.
Overall, my advice is to be safe with your personal information online and if you have any queries, please contact me on the below email address or call the station.
With harvest fast approaching, I would like to finish by wishing everyone a safe and hopefully successful harvest and I urge everyone on the roads to be safe and patient as we see an increase in machinery being moved about over the next couple months.
Article by Sergeant Alby Van Den Berg, Dumbleyung Police Station
Contact details – Phone (08) 9863 4143, Fax (08)9863 4220 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org