Protect yourself from email scams

It was so disturbing to discover via the South Australian Police FacebookSouth Australian Police Facebook page that the latest email scam is to hijack large sums of real estate transaction money from people. If it is successful then people are damaged for life. Mortgage money is hard won. The police have some suggestions as to how you can protect yourself from these sorts of cyber crimes:

How to avoid the scam:
• Treat phone calls, emails or letters from a supplier seeking a change to the bank account details you use to pay them, with caution.
• Use the correct, independently verified number from the supplier’s website, or the one you have on file, to call a known contact directly to confirm if the request is legitimate. 
• If emailing, type the known email address in the ‘to’ section rather than replying to an email received – scammers often use a very similar email address but with a different suffix or domain name.
• Know that a BSB search, which can easily be done online, will reveal details about a bank account you have been asked to send to. 
• Remember words you enter in the free text when conducting bank transfers have no bearing on the transaction – ie writing the name of the account holder does not mean it is that company’s bank account, it can belong to scammers posing as a company.
• Be aware that scammers have also been known to hack Chief Executive officers’ and managers’ email accounts, then send email authorisation to junior officers for the transfer of money into an account controlled by the offenders.

You can also use Scamwatch to inform yourself about scams and report them.

Tracking the provenance of emails is one thing you can do to help yourself.  You can track the location of the original email and details for GMail and yahoo are here.  You can also google to get information about how to track an email and from where it was sent. I use Thunderbird on my computer and that makes email tracking quite easy. I can go to View and select Headers and my email will show me more information about where it came from and event the device from which it was sent. That comes up as I view the email. If I want details of the email path then I use View and then Message Source. I can see exactly how the email got to me. Viewing that information has reassured me my ISP filters suspect email pretty thoroughly. My Samsung phone is getting better at detecting spam phone calls. We need to put a huge effort into protecting ourselves online. We need to expect better security and we need to discover better ways of securing ourselves from harmful emails. We have no choice about how we do banking these days so the world needs to look at this more carefully in terms of customer protection. I am sure they are, but resolution to this awful situation cannot come soon enough.

 

Online shopping

online deliveryImage : Delivery problems a major frustration for Aussie online shoppers 

 

If you google online shopping you will get supermarkets where you can do your weekly shopping. Buying online will get you other options. That’s the first problem . The searches are too narrowly defined. The second problem is delivery. For a business or organisation it will never be a problem because someone is always there. For individuals  there are things which need to be done, people who need to be seen , life which has to be lived and then the joy of being confined indoors until the parcel is delivered. Online shopping itself has never worked better. Online sites display and describe their goods well, they communicate easily with the customer and they are able to negotiate any problems quickly and effectively. All of that has improved considerably over the last couple of years. This is why so many people are buying online now. In Australia the bulk of that is done in the eastern states. There is some interesting information about our online practices on the Inside Australian site. We are doing a lot to make this work well. For a lot of people that is important. They are not very mobile, they are sick, they are looking after babies or ailing family members. For some, online shopping has freed them up to be able to shop like everyone else.

For me , about half of my online purchases are delivered without a problem. I track them and I am there and can be there. For the other half there is online site rearrangement of delivery hoo ha or automated type in 500 numbers to the phone robot and get a redelivery or I can go to the post office and retrieve my parcel but it is sent to the furthest post office from me. I had the situation where I was out getting one parcel and another one turned up so then I had to go back and get that one.  I know, I tried putting in my nearest post office on the Auspost site.  It gave me one option. I actually have a choice of three which are closer. The courier sites and delivery option parts of the system are not quite right as yet. Tracking is good but there are times when I have received the parcel and it is telling me it is on the way. These things take time to perfect and improve. There should always be an easy pick up option rather than a redelivery option. Some couriers take the parcel to a post office nearby and others don’t. We need to streamline this:

Maybe all online deliveries need the option of the nearest post office to save the redelivery and picking up nonsense which is wearing for all concerned. That might take some of the strain off.

Maybe we need windows , as they have in online supermarket shopping , so that people can select a window so they can be there.

The option of just leaving the parcel at our own risk has come about because of the delivery problems. That is not desirable but has become a work around.

We thought about how to get the online purchasing to work much better and it shines now. We need to polish the delivery part of it and we have phones, laptops and internet access. We can do this. I want the cyber delivery option where it comes out of my computer!

 

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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