In today’s rapidly advancing technological landscape, scams have become increasingly sophisticated, making it crucial for individuals to be vigilant and proactive in protecting themselves. As part of the National Anti-Scams Centre’s annual Scams Awareness Week, we want to empower you to Stop, Think, and Protect against the rising tide of scams, particularly those impersonating trusted organisations like the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Stop, Think, Protect: Your Shield Against Scams
As the digital realm evolves, so do the tactics of scammers. Legitimate-looking emails, SMS, and social media messages flood inboxes daily, posing a threat to personal information and financial security. The key is to pause and consider before taking any action.
Stop for a Moment: Before responding to any requests or clicking on any links, take a moment to pause. Scammers often rely on immediate responses, so slowing down can be your first line of defence.
Think About the Contact: Ask yourself, “Who’s there?” Scammers often impersonate trusted entities, like the ATO. Verify the authenticity of the communication by looking for red flags, such as unusual email addresses, grammatical errors, or requests for sensitive information.
Protect Your Personal Information: Never share personal identifying information (PII) without verifying the legitimacy of the request. If in doubt, contact the organisation using official contact details to confirm the communication’s authenticity.
Reporting Scams: A Collective Responsibility
Last financial year, the ATO reported a 25% increase in impersonation scam reports, with 346 individuals inadvertently divulging their PII, including myGov sign-in credentials. While reporting is on the rise, the National Anti-Scams Centre discovered that 30% of all scam encounters go unreported.
By encouraging individuals to report suspicious contacts, we empower them to protect themselves and contribute to the collective effort to disrupt and stop scammers in their tracks.
How to Report Scams:
If you come across a suspicious message or encounter a potential scam, follow these steps:
Verify: Visit the official Verify or Report a Scam webpage for information on recognising and reporting scams.
Email: Report suspicious contact to the ATO by emailing email@example.com.
Taking the time to report scams not only safeguards your personal information but also plays a crucial role in building a safer digital environment for everyone.
As technology advances, so must our awareness and protective measures against scams. Scams Awareness Week serves as a timely reminder to Stay, Think, and Protect. By fostering a culture of reporting and vigilance, we can collectively build a more resilient digital community and outsmart the scammers targeting our online spaces. Stay informed, stay safe!