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2019 = Scam Watch

Avatar On: February, 22nd 2019 | Under: Cloud, Computer Networking, Technology & Tools


Welcome to 2019 = Scam Watch.  Scams continue to grow rapidly, and they continue to evolve to elaborate making it more and more difficult for people to recognize and avoid. The Australian government through Scamwatch.gov.au continues to report that Scams are costing the broader community significant amounts of money. Not only consumers but business as well with Small to Medium businesses being a very specific target.

Not all scams are related to the internet but the radar watch on scams reports that YTD October 2018, there was 15,195 reported incidents of which 9% involved a financial loss and $4.966 million had been lost. The key methods for delivering a scam are phone, email, text messaging, the internet and mobile applications.

As the variety of scams continues to grow, and the best form of defense is education and ensuring your IT systems are up to date with virus protection, that your data is backed up and that you are effectively managing access to your systems and email.

The criminals have continued to become more sophisticated with their ability to make an email to appear it is from a legitimate company. This hack involves a company receiving an email re the payee’s bank details have changed and that their invoices for services/goods should be paid to this new account.

In January there is an expectation that more scams involving online shopping, donations to fake charities and investment scams will have been reported over the Xmas period.

Understanding the Scams

Hacking is when the scammer gains access to your personal/business information by using technology to break into your computer, mobile device or network.

Some examples are to trick the user into installing some malware (software application) onto your computer and then that software works in the background to collect personal information such as banking records, passwords, credit card numbers etc.

Once they have this information, they use it to commit fraudulent activities such as identity theft or credit card theft or even directly transfer money to their accounts from your account.

Identity theft is where a person uses someone else’s identity to steal money or gain other benefits.  A common method is Phishing, which is where you are contacted either by Phone, email, text, social media and then without suspecting anything you provide personal details.

This method equally applies to businesses but is referred to as Whaling or spear phishing. The scammer targets the business to gain confidential information for fraudulent purposes. Usually done by email that is sent to either a group of employees or a specific senior executive. The design of the email looks like it has been sent from a trustworthy source, with a subject that captures the eye as it is a critical business issue that the requires the recipient to act by going to a fake website and prompting them to enter key confidential information.

 What are some of the scams?

The following list is not exhaustive, but they give you an idea of where you might encounter a scam.

Holiday accommodation scam: this is where scammers are asking for a payment for something that does not exist. Means fake online websites, fake vouchers unusual practices like paying everything in total (especially bigger trips) with no deposit.

Flight booking scams: same approach using online techniques through fake websites you pay to turn up at the airport and you do not have an authentic flight ticket

Online shopping scams: the scammer tricks through fake classified ads, auction listings, and bogus websites. You purchase but never receive the goods and the website is often only there for a very short period.

Celebrity endorsement scams: these types of scams involve a loss of between $100 and $500. This scam involves signing up for a free trial and providing credit card details from fake websites where they use celebrities to endorse the product without the celebrity’s knowledge.

False Billing: They request you or your business to pay fake invoices for the directory listing, advertising, domain name renewals, or office supplies that you did not order. This type of scam has grown by 33% in 2018. It is a sophisticated scam created through email compromise (BEC, Business Email Compromise). Losses of up to $2.8 million have been reported in 2018.

What are the key things you should do to protect yourself or business?

The following items are not listed in any order, but you should at least implement these items to mitigate the risk.

  1. DO an annual Security IT assessment and act on the recommendations.
  2. Do ensure your Antivirus software is up to date and is maintained weekly. Ensure you have a weekly maintenance schedule where this is checked and updated
  3. Do have a person responsible for maintaining and regulating your user profiles for your computers and email services.
  4. Have IT security as a regular point of discussion at your team meetings Share stories and examples so your team becomes more educated at identifying possible threats.
  5. Ensure you have a backup and that it is checked regularly that it worked at the last scheduled backup time.
  6. Install a password manager for all staff

How can Computer Troubleshooters help you?

As a small business, you probably won’t have the time or the resource to undertake all the above, which is why are joining forces with Crest Australia to conduct IT security assessments that have been backed by the Australian Government with rebates on the fees. Learn more on this Federal government program.

Our Protection Plan service is directly aimed at small to medium businesses which is aimed at allowing you to focus on your business while we focus on your IT security giving you the confidence and peace of mind on this business issue.

Call 1300 28 28 78 for your nearest local Computer Troubleshooter

Is Your IT Professional Also a Trusted Business Advisor? They Should Be!

Avatar On: March, 17th 2014 | Under: Computer Networking, Global Newsletter, Industry News: This Week in IT, Managed Services, Technology & Tools


As a business owner, one of the best moves you can make is to outsource your IT services to a professional provider. When it comes to outsourcing your IT service needs, there are a wide range of service options that involve varying levels of management responsibilities and costs. An IT professional can provide service for a single specific task such as help desk support or managing network security.

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Keep Your Business Data Safe on Mobile Devices

Avatar On: March, 5th 2014 | Under: Computer Networking, Managed Services, Technology & Tools


According to CompTIA’s Second Annual Trends in Enterprise Mobility study for 2013, 64 percent of businesses support a BYOD policy. The trend continues as employees demand to use their personal mobile devices for their job. Businesses take on a higher risk of data exposure to malware and theft in a BYOD environment. Knowing how to protect your company data on these devices reduces the risk of a costly event that compromises your data, and damages your business.

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The Final Countdown to Microsoft’s April 8th Deadline

Avatar On: February, 20th 2014 | Under: Computer Networking, Industry News: This Week in IT, Technology & Tools


In 2002, Microsoft presented its official Support Lifecycle Policy that was based on detailed customer feedback. The predictability of support services was cited as a very important issue for Microsoft’s customers. Microsoft responded accordingly by alerting customers years in advance that the XP operating system and Windows 2003 have an “end of life” date scheduled for April 8, 2014.

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Cyber Security Awareness Month: Stay on the Alert for Technical Support Scams

Avatar On: October, 16th 2013 | Under: Computer Networking, How To: Technology 101, Industry News: This Week in IT, Technology & Tools


In August, our blog featured a story about one of the most lucrative cybercriminal scams of the past year. This con game involves fraudulent phone calls from cybercriminals posing as Microsoft tech support representatives. A fraudulent tech support representative calls to alert you that your computer has a virus.

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DON’T FORGET: STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Avatar On: October, 2nd 2013 | Under: Computer Networking, Industry News: This Week in IT, Technology & Tools


Did you know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? Cyber security begins with a simple message that everyone using the Internet should consider:

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

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The Top Seven Reasons to Consider Outsourced It Support

Avatar On: July, 22nd 2013 | Under: Computer Networking, How To: Technology 101, Industry News: This Week in IT, Managed Services


Outsourced IT support services are becoming increasingly popular for both large corporations and small-medium sized business.  Outsourced IT support typically includes some combination of the following services:  web development and hosting; data storage via cloud services; application and software development; database development and management;  application support and management; telecommunications; security; social media management; help desk services and technical support.  Business owners see the value in outsourcing as a way to remain competitive by having access to the latest technology and skilled IT professionals while also watching the bottom-line.

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How Cloud Computing Can Benefit Your Business

Avatar On: February, 21st 2013 | Under: Cloud Computing, Computer Networking, Technology & Tools


More than ever, business owners need to squeeze even more productivity out of limited time, staffing and resources. Many small businesses see cloud computing as a way to access advanced technologies that were previously affordable only for larger companies. A recent survey conducted by CompTIA, a nonprofit IT industry trade association, stated that more than half of micro businesses (one to nine employees) and small businesses (ten to ninety-nine employees) use cloud-based business productivity applications.

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Computer Security 101

Avatar On: May, 26th 2011 | Under: Computer Networking


Ensuring that your personal computer is safe from intruders is one of the most important things you can do for your personal safety. You wouldn’t think twice about securing your home, so why would you second guess securing your computer?

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Top 10 Network Security Threats

Avatar On: March, 14th 2011 | Under: Computer Networking


With cyber threats more common than ever, there have to be certain ways around the disasters some of us are forced to encounter. One researcher at Fortinet, a network security software provider, offered his observations on the top 10 threats that can harm networks from the inside and ways to combat them.

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