Last summer, ANZ’s dedicated scam unit conducted more than 600 investigations between November and February, in which a total of $6.6 million was sent by customers in scam-related incidents.
Commenting on the potential for scams this summer, ANZ Chief Information Security Officer Lynwen Connick said: “We urge people to be screen smart this summer and protect their virtual valuables because when the holiday shopping season ramps up, so does the season for online scams.
"It’s important to remember your digital personal information is just as valuable to a scammer as your money, so always be careful about the information you share online,” Ms Connick said.
According to Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan Research, Australians are expected to spend more than $51 billion over the festive season, with an additional $17.9 billion predicted between Boxing Day and mid-January. Of this, about 7% ($4.8 billion) will be spent online.
While ANZ lists malware and ransomware, investment, and romance scams as the top three to appear consistently across the year, Australians need to be aware of any cons that prey on people’s generosity and vulnerabilities during the summer holiday period.
These include clicking on digital e-cards from someone you don’t know, online shopping scams through fake classified ads and auction listings, online donations to fake charities, phishing emails promising Christmas sales, and fake travel and holiday deals across legitimate-appearing websites and social media.
ANZ figures show men are more likely to be targeted by scammers (58%), and people aged over 55 more vulnerable (67%) to scams, but Ms Connick said criminals target people of all backgrounds.
“It’s important to be aware that anyone could be vulnerable to a scam at some time, but staying safe online doesn’t have to be onerous. With the right security measures in place, people should be able to use online services with confidence,” she said.
ANZ is encouraging all Australians to be screen smart this summer, and make a simple PACT to protect their virtual valuables.
Pause before sharing your personal information - ask yourself, do I really need to give my information to this site or person? If it doesn’t feel right, don’t share it.
Activate two forms of identification - with Two Factor Authentication (2FA), you provide your password and something else such as an SMS sent to your mobile or your fingerprint – before you can access your financial accounts.
Call out suspicious messages - be aware of current scams. If an email, call or SMS seems unusual, check it through official contact points or report it.
Turn on automatic software updates - set your software, operating system and apps to auto update to make sure you get the latest security features.
ANZ has also advised Australian businesses to be extra vigilant in the lead up to the summer holidays when business email scams are common.
If you think you, a family member or friend have been scammed, report it immediately to the ACCC via www.scamwatch.gov.au. If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
For simple tips that can help protect your personal information, take a look at ANZ Cyber Secure.