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Scam Awareness Week 2020 – Be yourself, don’t let a scammer be you

By Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers

Scam Awareness WeekWe have just finished another annual Scam Awareness week and the ACCC has been working on the heightened risk of Identity Theft.

According to the Scamwatch website, the ACCC has partnered with the creative minds behind The Checkout TV series to create a hilarious podcast. The “This is Not Your Life” podcast parodies the classic TV show This Is Your Life to provide useful information on how to avoid scams and protect your identity.

Given these stressful times in the industry, listening to some amusing ways to protect yourself might not be a bad thing! Whilst the material is entertaining, it is no less important – the message they are trying to get across is to be ever vigilant about exposures to scammers. Whether it be over the phone or via email – criminals have many different ways of infiltrating our lives.

Over the past few weeks there has been a dramatic increase in the number of remote access scams. With many of us working from home this is a much larger problem than normal. According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre members of the public have reported receiving calls from cybercriminals pretending to be from telecommunication companies, government agencies including the Department of Home Affairs and parcel delivery companies.

They say that a majority of the calls have been reported by people living in areas that have been locked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting cybercriminals may be preying on people who are more vulnerable, housebound and easy to contact.

Where victims have handed over personal details, the cybercriminals are then using legitimate remote access applications like Team Viewer or Zoho Assist, to gain access to people’s devices. They then log into your bank account and online accounts, and steal your details for financial gain.

If you receive one of these calls, NEVER provide your personal and financial details or give a stranger remote access to your device or computer – simply hang up. It may seem obvious, and you think to yourself, “I would never fall for that” but if you did happen to be waiting for a call from your IT Provider or Telecommunications Company and that coincided with the scammer’s call? … Well, it could and does happen.

So too, receiving emails about the packages on their way to you. With so many of us on-line shopping at the moment we are often expecting packages and receiving legitimate emails about the delivery. How easy would it be to accidently click on a link that you thought was for the purchase you just made – only to have a virus lock your computer and demand a ransom? Remember, nowadays the scammers emails are often very convincing and look exceptionally real.

Remember these important safeguards:
  1. THINK before you click on a link
    The link itself could contain malicious or nasty software. If you can, hover over the link to see the actual web address it will take you to.

  2. NEVER provide your details via a link in a message
    To visit a website (such as your bank) it's safest to manually type the web address into your browser.

  3. CONTACT the person or business to check if they sent the message
    Use the contact details you find through a legitimate source. Don’t rely on the contact details in the suspicious message.

  4. OOPS … Think you’ve entered your personal details into a scam (phishing) site?
    These scam messages are very convincing and lots of people fall for them. Don’t feel embarrassed if it’s happened to you! Act quickly and get help.

Why not subscribe to the ACSC Alert Service to receive easy to understand advice about the latest internet threats, scams and other risks and how they can be recognised and addressed? It only takes a few minutes and could save you from the next big threat.

This is a free service for Australian internet users providing information on recent online threats and how they can be managed.

The ACSC Alert Service provides easy-to-understand online safety and security information and solutions to help protect internet users at home, at work and on mobile devices. The ACSC Alert Service also informs users about the latest threats and vulnerabilities within an Australian context, and how to address risks to their devices or computer networks. Visit > https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/register/small-and-medium-businesses

What else can be done?

Previously we have suggested that for travel companies, it is crucial that they heed the call for better risk management around cyber as ransomware can often be easily defended against.

Whilst Cyber Insurance is an important consideration for all businesses now, it only transfers the risk, and the main aim should be to ensure your IT systems have the best security protection available. It’s crucial that business owners understand they have a responsibility at all times to be vigilant in how they manage information, protect their data, and their clients private data which they would be liable for should it be invaded.

Important steps in protecting your business

  1. Understand the evolving risks
  2. Develop a security policy that is ingrained into your business culture
  3. Pick up the phone
  4. Keep your software up to date
  5. Have an incident response plan and practice it
  6. Back-up, back-up, back-up!!!
  7. Consider taking out a Cyber Insurance policy

Whilst best that you avoid an attack all together, scams and hacks are evolving so quickly that even the most sophisticated systems can be defeated.

Cyber Insurance should be part of every organisation’s risk management strategy and should be tailored to bridge the gaps that exist within traditional insurance policies, including:

  • Privacy breach customer notification costs;
  • Data recovery;
  • Network business interruption; and
  • Crisis management such as public relations, call centre, and legal costs.

As well as legal liabilities that arise due to:

  • Privacy breach regulatory investigation;
  • Defamation, libel, slander, infringement of any copyright or trademark; and
  • Security and privacy breaches such as unauthorised disclosure of personal information or breach of confidentiality agreements.

If you would like further information or an obligation free Cyber Insurance quote, please contact Rebecca Fleming, Manager of our Travel Division at Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers on (02) 8267 9919 or rfleming@gowgates.com.au to discuss your circumstances or to obtain a quotation.

General Advice Warning – the information in the above article is intended as a guide only and should not be relied upon without consulting your relevant insurance policy wording and conditions or conversely seeking professional advice from either your insurance broker or insurer regarding a claim or potential loss. Failure to adhere to this warning could result in a denial of a claim or potential loss or a reduction in settlement of a claim or potential loss.