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Have you been scammed? In recent weeks there appears to have been a dramatic increase in scamming email so this is a timely reminder to everyone to be careful when opening emails. This is important advice for everyone using email both at work and also at home.

ALWAYS treat all emails you are not expecting with a high degree of suspicion, particularly when they appear to come from a financial institution. Remember sender addresses can be forged extremely easily so don’t assume the sender address is actually who the email is from.

 

Never assume an email is actually from the person or organisation it says it is from

Elaborate scams can easily duplicate a real organisations website so as to fool you in to logging in with your details. Instead they actually capture those details and then forward you to the real organisations website so you don’t notice you have been duped. However they now have your access codes, etc. The easiest way to tell this is to check the address you are connected to in your browser and make sure it has a valid certificate and that the address is correct for the organisation you think it is. For example you might think you are connected to PayPal which is at “http://www.paypal.com” but you may actually be connected to “http://www.pay-pal.com” these are completely different places and the second one could easily be some scammer website in China with a homepage that looks exactly like PayPal’s website homepage.

You may also receive emails that appear to be from organisations you do not have dealings with. These types of emails are called Phishing (pronounced fishing) emails because they are “fishing” for information knowing that at least some of the 100’s of 1,000’s of people they spam the same email to will have dealings with the organisation they are trying to impersonate.

For your own safety please follow the following guidelines.

  1. Never assume an email is actually from the person/organisation it says it is from no matter how official it looks, even if the senders address appears to be real.
  2. Avoid using any links contained within an email that may require you to log in or enter sensitive information. Where possible go to your browser and type addresses in manually or use a trusted favourite/bookmark. Sometimes links in emails will say one address but actually link is to another completely different address. For example try using this link - http://www.lbh.com.au - it’s safe and appears to go to our website in Australia but instead actually goes to the Apple website in the US. It could have quite easily have taken you to a counterfit site that emulates our website;
  3. Typically websites that end in .com.au are fairly safe as they are registered in Australia and the Australian registrars are strict on allocating domain names only to registered companies and Internet addresses must somewhat match an organisations registered trading name(s). They won’t allow names that could potentially be used for phishing or other deception. Again be careful of point 2 when using links (you may notice the link says .com.au but takes you to a .com website). Unfortunately the rules for registering .com addresses are pretty much non-existent and anybody in the world can basically register any .com domain name they like.
  4. Scammers will sometimes use websites addresses that seem real but are not. For example "http://google.au.com" would have absolutely nothing to do with the real Google and with particular reference to point 3 is not an Australian .com.au address.
  5. Scammers will typically send emails that indicate one of your accounts has been involved in fraud or has been breached. The reason for this is to scare you into clicking on an enclosed link before you have time to stop and consider the actual authenticity of the email.
  6. If you have concerns on the authenticity of an email always call the organisation in question and speak to someone in person. BTW do not use a phone number mentioned in the email, it too could be fake, always look up phone numbers via a reputable directory or website;
  7. Typically financial institutions will never send you emails that contain links where you need to log in or enter account details. If an email is asking you to login or enter account details to their website, never do it via a email link. Refer to point 2;

In short, it is much better to be paranoid and safe than to be complacent and find your accounts drained within minutes of entering your details someplace you shouldn’t have. That is literally how quickly it can happen.

Following these guideline should help keep you safe from email scams. Hope you find them useful.


Author: Steven Tee - LBH Accountants 


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294 Payneham Rd, Payneham SA 5070

LBH Accountants

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