Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains your personal information such as name, passwords, date of birth, or credit card details in order to steal your money or make some other economic gain.
In Australia in 2015 there was over $83.7 million dollars reportedly lost in scams and identity theft, with $33.6 million of this due to internet and email scams*.
Protect your personal information and financial details
There are a number of measures that you can take to reduce the risk of fraud or identity theft:
1) Do not disclose your personal information such as date of birth or credit card details unnecessarily, or if you do not have complete trust in the recipient. This includes when using social media, such as Facebook or Twitter.
2) Protect your password or Personal Identity Number (PIN):
Never give your password or PIN to others.
Make your password strong and not easily guessable. For instance do not use a common number or keyboard sequence, your partner's, child's, or pet's name.
Ensure that no one is able to observe or access your credentials.
Do not reuse old passwords, or use the same password for multiple sites.
Change your password regularly. Never select your internet browser's 'remember my password' option (especially if using a public computer).
3) Take care of identification or financial documents and statements. Mailbox document theft is on the rise. You may need to lock your letterbox if this has been occurring in your area. If you have a change of address you need to notify the Fund as soon as possible, so your mail can be directed to the correct address.
4) Securely dispose of any unwanted personal and financial documents, including bills - better still, sign up for online statements.
5) Check your account transactions and balance regularly and report anything unusual to the Fund. Do not conduct financial transactions or access your financial records using a public computer.
6) Protect your computer's security using a reliable up-to-date internet security software product.
7) Take care on the phone. We may call you and ask questions to confirm your identity such as date of birth, however we will not request your login password or PIN number over the phone. According to scamwatch.gov.au over $25 million was lost in phone scams in 2015*.
Beware of fake websites, scams and phishing
There have been cases in the past where a replica or fake version of a financial institution's website has been set up using a very small change in the address URL. The unsuspecting customer has accidentally gone to the replica site, or has clicked on a link in a fake email to be taken to the fake site. If you suspect you have been directed to a fake website, do not click on any links in the site, but please contact the Fund immediately to validate.
These types of internet scams are constantly changing and come in many forms including:
- Hacking - using a security weakness to gain access to information or files stored on your computer or mobile phone.
- Remote access scams - you allow the scammer access to your computer, for some fraudulent reason.
- Malware or ransomware - a virus or unwanted software that has been deposited on your computer that allows access to your personal files.
- Fake social media profiles - a fake person wants to be your friend or connection, to gain your trust.
- Phishing - this is usually in the form of an email, SMS, phone call or other correspondence that masquerades as genuine.
Investment scams can take many forms such as; pyramid schemes, property investment scams, investment cold calls, binary options scams or Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF) scams. In Australia in 2015 almost $24 million was reported as lost from investment scams*.
The old adage 'If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is' applies here.
An example of such a scheme is where a fraudster posing as a genuine financial adviser, acting on your behalf deceives your super fund to allow early release of your money, only to deduct large 'fees' for themselves, or abscond with the funds altogether.
Before acting on any external financial advice (especially if unsolicited) it is recommended that you contact Australian Catholic Superannuation's Financial Advice service.
To make yourself aware of the types and the most recent scams you can visit the Scamwatch website run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), or visit ASIC for details on SMSF scams.
Most correspondence will be genuine
Australian Catholic Superannuation does not send unsolicited emails asking for sensitive or personal information, however from time to time the Fund may wish to contact you to invite you to a seminar or event, or to take advantage of any new offers we may provide such as finding your lost super.
All emails from the Fund will be addressed to you personally.
Never rely on the contact details that are given in a suspicious email or website - always refer to the contact details from an independent source-such as the White pages or on your bill or statement.
If you wish to check the validity of any correspondence from the Fund please;
Call 1300 658 776 or Contact Us.
Australian Catholic Superannuation will not use or disclose a member’s personal information for the purpose of marketing other than where you have consented to this or if you would reasonably expect to receive marketing material from the Fund. You also have the opportunity to opt out of receiving any marketing material.
Website and Internet access
Members of the Fund can access their account details online by using their login and unique password. The traffic between the Fund’s website and the member’s browser is encrypted.
Personal information is entered by members and prospective members on the Fund’s website to attend seminars hosted by the Fund. The limited personal details requested are stored securely in a database.
If you are in doubt, do not give out any of your personal information, click on any links or call any phone numbers offered, until you have validated the correspondence as genuine by contacting the Fund.
For further information or to report any concerns please call 1300 658 776 or Contact Us.