Scammers strike more often than hackers: IT specialist

SCAMMERS pose the biggest risk to average citizens, according to Ipswich IT specialist Kerry Heffernan who has been working in the industry for 30 years.

He says while hackers are out there, they're more likely to target companies because that sensitive information is more valuable.

Every month Mr Heffernan, who owns Kerry's Computers, sees at least six customers who have been scammed.

Most of those victims are aged 50 or over but from all different walks of life and levels of education.

They've either opened an email or been tricked into sharing their credit card details over the phone.

The most recent is the Australia Post scam where a person receives an email telling them to download the 'receipt and verify the correct address' to receive 'your package'.

"As soon as you open the attachment your computer is locked up and every PDF, every photo, every document is encrypted," Mr Heffernan says.

>>Easy steps to protect your files: Ipswich 'ethical hacker' explains

"You can't do anything about it. Then a ransom note comes up on the screen; the only way to unlock your computer is to pay them in Bitcoins (an internet only currency) worth $300 to $400.

"Some people have done it and been given a code that unlocks their computer, others haven't."

SCAM ALERT: Australia Post published this fake email on its website on January, 11, 2017, warning people its a scam and not to click or past the link into your internet browser. 'Delete the email immediately'.
SCAM ALERT: Australia Post published this fake email on its website on January, 11, 2017, warning people its a scam and not to click or past the link into your internet browser. 'Delete the email immediately'.

Mr Heffernan helped a man recently who received a call from 'John at Telstra'; John told the man his computer was infected with viruses which was feeding back into the network and threatened to take punitive action.

He then offered to resolve the problem right there for a small fee of $9.95, so the scared man gave over his credit card details.

"Two days later the guy called his bank and $1500 had been deducted. Banks don't cover you for fraud if you give out your bank details," Mr Heffernan says.

"I can't believe people are still getting scammed. My advice, if someone calls and says you have a virus on your computer, tell them you don't have a computer and I guarantee they will just hang up straight away.

"Don't open email attachments, just delete them."

More information here: https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au


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