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Hewison Insights

How To Avoid Financial Scams

Simon Curtain
Partner & Wealth Adviser
27 Apr 2022

Investment scams are on the rise. I’m sure each and every one of us has received at least one dodgy email or text message asking for personal details or to click a suspicious link. These scams are becoming more and more sophisticated, so it is important to be aware.

At Hewison Private Wealth we regularly receive word from clients about scammers trying to target them for financial gain. While the vast majority of attempts are thwarted, unfortunately some innocent people fall victim.

There are a number of ways to protect yourself from scammers:

1. Ask the right questions.

To check if someone is legitimate you might want to ask them:

  • What is your name and what company do you represent?
  • Who owns your company?
  • What is your address?

If they avoid answering these questions, then the ‘deal’ they are offering you is probably a scam. Hang up the phone, delete the email or block the messages through social media. Even if they answer all these questions and you are still suspicious, it is better to be on the safe side and cease contact.

2. Protect your personal information
  • Do not give out any personal, banking or credit card information to anyone making unsolicited contact with you. Scammers can impersonate Banks, and even the ATO. Remain vigilant and if in doubt, hang up (or delete the email) and call the institution directly to confirm the legitimacy of the request.
  • Choose passwords that are hard to decipher and never share your passwords.
  • Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Make sure your privacy settings are up to date on your social media accounts and share personal information with ‘friends only’. If you receive friend requests from people you don’t know, be wary as they may be trying to gain access to your information.
3.  Secure your computer and mobile device
  • Delete, and do not open, any unsolicited or suspicious emails you receive, and if you have opened them, do not click on any links in these emails.
  • Install a current anti-virus program on your computer.
  • Never send personal information via text message. If you get a text message from your bank or government department asking you to follow a link, be wary. A bank will never ask you to send personal information via email or text and will never ask for your PIN number. If the caller or sender claims to be from a government agency, remember that government departments would never ask you for your personal details via email or text message.
  • Making transactions online is the norm but pay attention to the URL (website address). Look in your navigation bar. Is the url http:// or https://
    http:// is ok for regular websites but if you’re purchasing online make sure it’s https:// is a secured site. However, scammers can still use these sites so you need to be careful.

Be on guard about every offer that is made to you. Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

The information contained in this blog was obtained from the ASIC Money Smart website. Money Smart is an Australian Government initiative to help increase the financial literacy of all Australians.