Sadly as we saw from the theft of a Covid 19 testing station shelter this week, times of great anxiety and stress require us to be the most vigilant we can be to keep ourselves and our assets safe physically, on the phone and on-line.
The best way to deal with phone scams is to hang up immediately on any one you do not know. Do not give them one second of your precious time. If you do end up having a conversation, on any medium, with someone you do not know, be sure that NO ONE you do business with will ever phone and;
  • Request your password 
  • Request your credit details
  • Threaten to disconnect your broadband or anything else
  • Tell you that you've been hacked 
  • Request access to your personal computer or laptop
Also never call back a missed call that you see on your call log and do not recognise. If it is important they will call back!!!! This is a famous scan, your call gets rerouted multiple times and ends up costing an arm and shoulder.
I have noticed an increase in computer scams since the lockdown began. Similar to the recommendations for the phone the best advice is do not open any email from anyone you do not know or from whom you are expecting correspondence. If it is important they will keep trying. NEVER open an attachment from any person or organisation you do not know. This maxim is not as straight forward as it seems, scammers have become very good at imitating banks, phone companies and the like, so;
  • Nobody you deal with would ask any of the questions outlined above for the phone
  • Look at the senders address at the top of the email, very often they are hacked email addresses, it could be your address, mine or another random third party address - this is a sure give away. This is demonstrated in the screen shot below, an email I received this morning, ostensibly from Netflix, wanting me to click on their link! In this instance a Graham Irvin has been hacked and his account is being used to send emails.
  • If it purports to come from your bank etc but is not in your normal routine, ignore it but call the bank and ask, they will not mind. Never respond to the email, phone your normal contact first.
  • No email you have not interacted with will harm you👍😊
  • For critical organisations, bank, phone, medical, Facebook etc use a unique password (only for that account) - that is really important
  • Make sure you apply all updates sent to you and your device, i.e. Microsoft, Apple etc, they continuously monitor scams and update security accordingly
  • Completely power off your laptop/ tablet/ phone at least once a week
There is some useful further reading if you are interested, Netsafe and the Government both have sites with current scams and ways to report scams. All local banks have an option for reporting scams on their websites.