Hang up on remote access scammers

Posted on 30 May 2024
Hang up on remote access scammers

Criminals who contact you unexpectedly offering to help 'fix problems' with your account, phone or computer are causing increasing financial loss through remote access scams.

Professional-sounding scammers ask you to download well-known screen-sharing (or remote desktop application) software. They then use this software to steal from you.

Australians reported losing $15.5 million to these scams in 2023, with criminals stealing averages in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Australians over 65 years old are losing the most money in these scams.

How to spot the scam

  • You get an unexpected phone call from someone telling you there's a problem with your account, phone, or computer.
  • They may pretend they're calling from a well-known bank, internet, phone, software or web security business and they can help you 'fix the problem'.
  • They tell you to download software or an app which will let them remotely control your computer or mobile phone.

How the scam works

  • When you download the software or app they say they need to 'fix the problem', the scammer can now fully control your device.
  • They don't fix any problem, because there's no problem to fix.
  • They ask you to tell them your banking passwords or one-time security codes.
  • Sharing these lets the scammer access your bank accounts, personal information and steal your money.
  • You might not realise they have stolen your money and emptied your bank accounts until the next time you log in.

Protect yourself

STOP – Don’t rush to act. Hang up on anyone asking you to download software or an app over the phone. Never provide banking information, passwords, or 2-factor identification codes over the phone.

THINK – Ask yourself if you really know who you are communicating with? Take the time to call the business you're dealing with using independently sourced contact details, or check you're talking to a real employee using their secure app.

PROTECT – Act quickly if something feels wrong. If you've shared financial information or transferred money, contact your bank immediately. Help others by reporting to Scamwatch.

If you've been affected

  • If you have lost money, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
  • If you've had personal information stolen or need support to recover from a scam, contact IDCARE on 1800 595 160.
  • Help others by reporting scams to Scamwatch.
  • Tell your friends and family: you can share your experience, get support and help to protect others from scams.

Who is the National Anti-Scam Centre?

The National Anti-Scam Centre is where government and industry work together to protect Australians.

We’re harnessing shared resources and smarter analytics to cover blind spots, strengthen weak links and use data to react faster, stopping scams before they happen.

Our aim is to make Australia a harder target for scammers.

For more information about how to avoid or report a scam, visit the Scamwatch website.

Posted in:News  

'Deepfake' clickbait scamming would-be investors

Posted on 4 March 2024
'Deepfake' clickbait scamming would-be investors

Fake news and 'deepfake' videos of celebrities and public figures appearing to promote online investment platforms are increasing on social media.

'Deepfakes' are lifelike impersonations of real people, created by artificial intelligence (AI).

Scammers create ads and fake news articles to make you believe the celebrities actually use these scam investment platforms.

The platforms claim to use AI and other technologies like quantum computing to create high profits for investors.

How to spot the scam

  • You see an article or video on social media about a celebrity or public figure who appears to promote an investment platform they say they've made a lot of money on.
  • These trading platforms include the names ‘Quantum AI’, ‘Immediate Edge’, ‘Immediate Connect’, ‘Immediate X3’, and ‘Quantum Trade Wave’.

How the scam works

  • Scammers use social media ads, ‘deepfake’ videos and fake news articles ('clickbait') about celebrities and public figures claiming to make big profits from online trading platforms.
  • Links to these scam platforms take you to a website where you're asked to sign up to the platform.
  • After you submit the form, the scammer (pretending to be an account manager) calls you, telling you to pay around $250 to access the platform.
  • They tell you to download a cryptocurrency app so you can 'invest' more.
  • Using an online dashboard that appears to show small profits, scammers persuade you to invest more. They may let you take out a small amount of money to gain your trust.
  • When you try to withdraw your funds, they demand withdrawal fees or mention tax issues to access your money. You may be locked out of your account. You won't get your money back.

Protect yourself

STOP – Don’t give personal information or act on investment advice you have come across on social media. Don’t feel pressured to invest. If you have any doubts, stop communicating with them. For more information about reducing the risk of investment scams, visit ASIC's Moneysmart website.

THINK – Ask yourself if you really know what you are investing in? Scammers can create fake news to make it seem legitimate. Do an internet search to see if it’s an online investment trading platform scam.

PROTECT – Act quickly if something feels wrong. If you have shared financial information or transferred money, contact your bank immediately. Help others by reporting scams to Scamwatch.

If you've been affected

If you think you're involved in an investment scam or you've experienced cybercrime and lost money online, contact your bank immediately.

For crisis support to help with emotional distress about scams, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or use their online chat.

Beyond Blue also provides support for anxiety and depression: call them on 1300 224 636. You can also chat online through their website.

Help others by making a report to Scamwatch. You can make your report without sharing your name.

Who is the National Anti-Scam Centre?

We're a specialised team within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that launched on 1 July 2023.

Our aim is to make Australia a harder target for scammers.

For more information about how to avoid or report a scam, visit the Scamwatch website.

Posted in:News  

The responsibilities and challenges of an estate executor

Posted on 22 September 2023
The responsibilities and challenges of an estate executor

(Feedsy Exclusive)

Being named the executor of an estate is both an honour and a burden. Entrusted with this pivotal role, one carries out the last wishes of a loved one, but the path is often strewn with complexities and unforeseen challenges.

Navigating the Executor’s Terrain

At first glance, the executor’s role might seem straightforward. However, in practice, it’s a demanding role that requires interaction with a myriad of entities, such as banks, real estate professionals, utility companies, the deceased’s superannuation fund, and the taxation office.

Furthermore, an executor’s duties are vast and varied. They encompass everything from overseeing funeral procedures and securing the death certificate to notifying friends and family about the loss. They’re also tasked with locating the will, identifying beneficiaries, gathering a multitude of documents, settling estate debts, documenting estate assets, and initiating insurance and superannuation claims.

Yet, the process isn’t without potential pitfalls:

  • Executors face personal financial risks. Any oversight during the estate’s administration might lead to personal financial liabilities.
  • They often encounter hitches in procuring superannuation death benefits and in coordinating with fund trustees.
  • Executors bear responsibility for any losses stemming from estate asset mismanagement. This can include failure in securing and judiciously investing assets, or lapses in notifying creditors, settling the deceased’s obligations, and recouping debts owed to the deceased.
  • They can incur financial penalties for unduly delaying estate administration or for hasty distributions.

Guidance for a Smoother Transition

For those in the process of drafting a will and designating an executor, a few proactive steps can immensely assist in the estate’s efficient management:

  • Collaborate with a knowledgeable probate lawyer or solicitor specialising in wills and estate management. Their insights, especially regarding local family and inheritance laws, can be invaluable.
  • Given life’s unpredictability, regular updates to your will, insurance policies, and superannuation death benefit details are paramount.
  • It’s crucial to note that superannuation doesn’t fall within your estate and isn’t addressed in your will. Still, you can specify your wishes and arrangements concerning your super death benefit nominations in your will.
  • Seek guidance from your financial advisor and super fund to establish death nominations, thereby streamlining benefit acquisitions for beneficiaries.
  • If feasible, contemplate liquidating your entire death benefit from the super fund while still alive. This proactive step allows for immediate distribution based on your directives or deposits into a bank account, providing easy access for the executor upon your passing.

If you’re ever nominated as an executor by a loved one, it’s prudent to discuss these considerations with the testator (the person who drafted the will). Collaboration with their legal advisor (and financial consultant if available) is also advisable to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the responsibilities and challenges ahead.

In summation, the role of an executor is a multifaceted one, rife with both an honor and intricate challenges. However, with a well-charted roadmap and diligent preparation, the process can be streamlined, ensuring a smoother transition for all involved.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

 

Posted in:News  

Understanding underinsurance in Australia: Steps to secure your future

Posted on 8 September 2023
Understanding underinsurance in Australia: Steps to secure your future

(Feedsy Exclusive)

Australia faces an underinsurance crisis, leaving many exposed to unexpected life challenges. A quick scroll on social media might reveal fundraisers for families who’ve lost a loved one. Tell-tale signs indicate a worrying trend and numerous Australians lack adequate insurance. This article delves into the reasons and suggests how you can avoid becoming another statistic.

What is Underinsurance?

Underinsurance is the disparity between the life insurance an individual or family should possess and what they actually have. Despite some getting default life insurance through superannuation, the gap persists. When delving deeper into income protection and disability cover, the figures are even more concerning.

Why Many Australians are Underinsured:

  1. Perceived Expense: Many believe insurance to be an unnecessary financial burden. Yet, the costs of being underinsured can far outweigh the premiums. The solution? Research, compare, and understand the long-term benefits.
  2. Distrust in Insurance Companies: The fear of claims getting rejected leads some to bypass insurance altogether.
  3. Overwhelming Jargon: The complexities of insurance can be daunting, dissuading potential policyholders.
  4. Overconfidence in Youth: Young adults often feel invincible, relying on a healthy lifestyle to protect them against unforeseen events.
  5. Procrastination: Recognising the importance but postponing the decision can lead to unforeseen complications, especially as one ages or health declines.

Both individuals and businesses, at various stages, grapple with this issue, making it a pervasive concern in Australia.

Who is Most Vulnerable?

You could be at a higher risk of underinsurance if you’ve:

  • Recently married or divorced.
  • Had a child or are planning to.
  • Faced job loss or income reduction.
  • Taken a loan or mortgage.
  • Have dependents like younger siblings or elderly parents.

Recognising your risk can lead to more informed insurance decisions. Start by assessing assets and liabilities, understanding your monthly finances, and comparing your current insurance to what you genuinely require. Neglecting this can leave you exposed during major life events, be it health crises, property damages, or job losses.

Strategies to Counteract Underinsurance:

  1. Consult an Insurance Adviser: Engaging with professionals can demystify insurance for you. A licensed and accredited adviser can help identify gaps in your coverage and offer tailor-made solutions.
  2. Regular Reviews: As life evolves, so do our insurance needs. Marriage, childbirth, or purchasing a home are significant milestones that might necessitate a policy review.
  3. Family Discussions: Open dialogues about financial preparations can lead to collective decisions, ensuring everyone’s on the same page regarding future security.
  4. Stay Updated: Insurance isn’t a ‘set-and-forget’ aspect of life. Regularly updating coverage can ensure you remain protected as circumstances shift.

Underinsurance can spell disaster during life’s unpredictable turns. But with informed choices, regular check-ins, and leveraging financial advice, it’s possible to ensure you and your loved ones remain shielded against unexpected financial burdens. After all, preparation today can guarantee peace of mind tomorrow. If you’re at the onset of your financial planning journey or seeking specialised guidance, it’s advisable to connect with a Financial Adviser. Your future, and that of your loved ones, deserves the security and peace that comprehensive insurance can provide.

 

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

 

Posted in:News  

Blueprint revealed to turbocharge productivity, wealth

Posted on 24 August 2023
Blueprint revealed to turbocharge productivity, wealth

Maeve Bannister and Andrew Brown
(Australian Associated Press)

Lifelong learning incentives and bringing more women into the workforce could drive productivity and leave Australians substantially better off.

The Business Council of Australia has released a report outlining a series of policy shifts it believes will drive productivity growth and help the nation seize its economic future.

If implemented, the council expects the package of reforms to leave every Australian $7000 better off each year after a decade.

BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott said Australia needed a co-ordinated approach to strengthen its economic resilience.

“We cannot continue to experience record low levels of business investment as a share of GDP where more money leaves the country than comes in,” she said.

“Investment drives innovation, which drives productivity and drives higher wages.

“We cannot continue to have an underperforming skills system that is failing to prepare Australians for the huge changes in the tasks that make up their jobs as the world of work changes.”

The council proposed deepening trade ties with India and Southeast Asia, broad-based tax reform to incentivise investment and a commitment between federal, state and territory governments to decarbonise the economy by 2050.

It also proposed moving away from a “fragmented” education system and transforming it into a sector that encouraged lifelong learning and skills development to prepare workers for future jobs.

A 10-year road map for government and business should also be implemented to advance women’s economic inclusion, with progress reported annually.

“Pieced together (the reforms) would overhaul Australia’s competitiveness and productivity, increase our participation in big global markets and fundamentally drive stronger economic growth,” Ms Westacott said.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the report aligned with the government’s economic agenda.

“We need to make our economy more productive, not by making people work harder and longer for less, but by combining the things that we know will deliver productivity growth in the coming decades,” he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

“We don’t agree with every direction that the BCA has proposed.

“(But) if you look right across energy and housing, human capital, institutional reform, there is a great deal of alignment with the Albanese government’s agenda.”

The treasurer said prosperity and productivity required “a much more modern, dynamic and competitive economy”.

Dr Chalmers will this week release the latest Intergenerational Report, which is expected to show the nation’s population will age rapidly over the next 40 years, leading to a surge in demand for aged care and social assistance workers.

It will also show the nation experienced the slowest productivity growth in 60 years in the decade to 2020.

Posted in:News  
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