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Free Wi-Fi a hot target as 1 in 4 Aussie adults scammed

Free wifi, hot target, financial scammers, online shopping

In 2018 alone, Australians lost about $48 million to financial scammers who targeted popular online shopping destinations and exploited weaknesses in free Wi-Fi to grab sensitive personal data.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has launched “Stay Smart Online” week in a bid to educate Australian consumers about sophisticated scams that aim to hack into online banking and capture credit card details.

The ACSC estimates that about six million Australian adults have been impacted by a scam.

An increasingly common and sophisticated method for fraudsters is to pose as a popular online retailer, often with a “shopfront” that appears reputable and well known.

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Free Wi-Fi, which often has lax security, is also a method scammers use to gain access to data of those who are using the network.

Australian consumers often believe a scam will be obvious, but fraudsters are often using sophisticated graphics, technology and platforms. This is having a material impact on Australian consumers personally, and businesses in Australia more broadly.

“Cyber crime is a big problem in Australia and all over the world. The human and financial cost to businesses and society is rising every year,” the ACSC said in a statement today.

“It impacts our business[es], our families and friends, costing huge amounts of money, time and pain.”

Tax time scammers

Tax time, which is between the start of the new financial year and income tax lodgement deadline of 31 October, is a particularly busy time for fraudsters.

“We’re heading into peak season for the army of scammers looking to hoodwink individuals and small businesses into parting with their money, their identity or both by claiming to be from the ATO,” said H&R Block’s tax communications director, Mark Chapman.

You can read more about how to protect yourself from tax time scammers here.

Free Wi-Fi a hot target as 1 in 4 Aussie adults scammed
Free wifi, hot target, financial scammers, online shopping
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