SCAMwatch - a website published by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission - has highlighted 3 top scams to watch out for over the Easter period:
1. Fundraising activities
Easter is often a time for charitable fundraising, especially for children’s charities. Scammers often pretend to work for well-known and well-regarded charity organisations. Scammers may approach people in the street, by knocking on the door, by telephoning or by sending spam emails.
2. Malicious software and viruses
Scammers use bogus emails designed to spread malicious software and viruses onto your computer. Usually this scam involves using catchy titles and headings to entice you to open the email, such as 'your friend has sent you an Easter card'.
3. Bogus holiday and accommodation scams
Easter is a time when many families take vacations. The scammer commonly offers heavily discounted holidays and/or accommodation rates through unsolicited emails and/or telephone calls. This scam usually involves full or significant up-front payments, commonly through cash money wire (which is untraceable).
The site suggests yo employ the following strategies to protect against these scams:
- If in doubt, find the name of the charity yourself and donate directly to them.
- Don’t rely on any phone number or website address given by the person who first called, visited or emailed you, because they could be impersonating a legitimate charity. Instead find the contact details of the charity through an internet search.
- Never give out your personal or credit card or online account details unless you made the phone call.
- If a collector makes a face-to-face approach, ask to see identification.
Malicious software and viruses:
- Don’t open up any emails, including links and attachments, if you don’t recognise the email address or the sender’s name.
- Avoid questionable websites. Some may automatically download malicious software onto your computer.
- Keep your computer protected with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and remember to use a good firewall.
- If you think your computer has been infected, you may need to have the computer checked.
Bogus holiday and accommodation scams:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Contact the accommodation provider to confirm the availability of the accommodation.
- If you receive an unsolicited call, never provide your credit card details or other personal information. Instead, get the caller’s details and say you will call them back after you have checked the offer.
A good way to keep updated on common scams is to register for SCAMwatch's email alerts - http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/698791