The Courier-Mail



WE all like to believe that we’re street-smart but according to the Australian Competitio­n and Consumer Commission (ACCC), we lost more than $81 million to scams in 2014, and $45 million in the first half of 2015.

We all recognise the dodgy emails informing us of lottery wins or long-lost relative’s estates for what they are. But the ACCC warns that scammers are becoming more sophistica­ted. It could be a fake “for sale” or “for rent” advertisem­ent, a scammer impersonat­ing a genuine charity who really needs your credit card details, right now, or a fake profile on a dating app.

There is no way to guarantee you won’t fall victim to fraud, but some common sense can go a long way towards reducing the chances.

Keep card details safe. Reading out your card details over the phone, including the CSV number, is risky. There’s always a more secure payment method available.

Be suspicious. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Make further inquiries before handing over any payment.

Keep your passwords strong. According to analysis of more than three million leaked passwords, “123456” and “password” are still extremely popular. Put more effort into it!

Mix it up – your internet banking password shouldn’t be the same as the one for your social networks or the local pizza shop.

And read your bank statements. Keeping tabs on transactio­ns can pick up small scams. Justine Davies is a finance editor and commentato­r with financial research and ratings firm Canstar

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