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Cybercrime - Don't Be A Victim

The numbers don’t lie with 1 in 5 Australians last year were a victim of a cybercrime.

What is cybercrime?

Cybercrime refers to criminal activity that is directed towards a computer or mobile device. It involves gaining personal details from a victim, such as banking account or credit card details, in an attempt to steal money, data or other personal information.

The impacts of cybercrime can be significant and extremely upsetting for the victim, with the costs being not only financial, but emotional, as the victim has their privacy and sense of security violated.

Types of cybercrime

There are a number of different methods that cyber criminals use to access your information for financial gain. Understanding these risks can help you better detect suspicious activity and make smarter decisions around how to respond.

  • Online scams - schemes that seek to take advantage of individuals by presenting a solicitous offer (such as a free or cheap holiday) that turns out to be dishonest or non-existent.

  • Identity fraud - illegally accessing an individual’s information and using that information to steal money or other benefits.

  • Malware and ransomware - Malicious software designed to gain unauthorised access to an individual’s computer system - typically used to steal data, destroy data, or to prevent the user from being able to access their files, holding them to ‘ransom’.

  • Phishing - an email pretending to be from a legitimate, trusted company (such as a bank or other service provider) that attempts to trick an individual into providing their personal or financial information.

  • Bullying and harassment - using technology to conduct behaviour that is intended to make a person feel fearful, uncomfortable or offended.

Tips for staying safe online

While there are no guarantees that you can protect all your information from being unlawfully accessed, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.

  • Regularly update software - installing updates for your operating system and applications is essential.

  • Don't divulge personal information when requested via email - verify any such request using a different channel (such as a phone call).

  • Beware of emails asking for financial information - banks, super funds and other financial providers will never ask their customers to email personal financial information or login details for secure websites.

  • Choose a strong password - a good password is easy for you to remember but difficult for anyone else to guess - the strength of your password is determined in part by its length and complexity (try to avoid words you'd find in a dictionary). Avoid using the same password across multiple services - if you use a lot of digital services, consider use of a password manager that stores data on your local device. It's also best practice to change passwords for critical services every few months.

  • Invest in antivirus protection - anti-virus software can go some way toward protecting your device against known threats.

  • Restrict use of public Wi-Fi to web browsing - an open Wi-Fi network can be used to intercept communications between your devices and the internet, such as user names, passwords and financial information.

  • Log out after browsing - always log out from your internet banking session and other secure websites, and close your internet browser when you have finished.


This information is current as at 21/08/17. This article has been prepared by Heart1Stop, a social media brand owned by Heart Mortgage Services and Heart Financial Advisers. The information contained in this article is an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter nor relied upon as such. The views expressed here are not those of Heart1stop, Heart Mortgage Services, Heart Financial Advisers, shareholders, directors or staff and associated contractors and business associates. This article has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, you should, before acting on any information contained in this article, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Any taxation information contained in this article is a general statement and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute taxation advice and is based on current laws and their interpretation. Each individual’s situation may differ, and you should seek independent professional taxation advice on any taxation matters. While the information contained in this article may contain or be based on information obtained from sources believed to be reliable, it may not have been independently verified. Where information contained in this publication contains material provided directly by third parties it is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. It is not the intention of Heart1Stop or Heart Mortgage Services and Heart Financial Advisers that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. To the maximum extent permitted by law: no guarantee, representation or warranty is given that any information or advice in this publication is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for any purpose; and no party of Heart1Stop or associated entities as mentioned is in any way liable to you (including for negligence) in respect of any reliance upon such information. This article may also contain links to websites operated by third parties ("Third Parties") who are not related to Heart1Stop. These links are provided for convenience only and do not represent any endorsement or approval by us.

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