Scams, especially via spam emails, bit also via social media, are an ongoing problem. Everyone needs to exercise a degree of wariness,
The point of a scam is to somehow gain an advantage from you. It may be remittance of money, or just simply giving away personal details. But if you look at an incoming e-mail and it is correctly addressed to you, then you are already on a list somewhere that is being distributed or sold. Apart from abandoning that particular e-mail address, there little you can do about it.
PCUG clearly state that we will never ask you for sensitive details (login, passwords, etc) via email. If there is ever a problem with your account, we will ask you to ring or drop-in at the PCUG Centre to resolve it, where both we and you, can confirm who you are working with.
Most reputable organisations (banks, credit unions, trade unions, clubs etc) have similar policies of never requesting sensitive information to be supplied electronically, as it is just too easy for spammers to forge such messages.
This is simply good basic Internet practise.
I regret to say that a few of our members have fallen for such scams previously. As a result, their accounts were used to send many thousands more SPAM emails, which resulted in the PCUG being placed on blacklists at the time, thus blocking some email delivery for all users. So please exercise caution as carelessness by one member can inconvenience and disrupt usage for all!
Please review the links below for further information, and take specific note of the scam emails listed which target PCUG members specifically.
Also, a scamwatch e-mail list has been set up to allow members to warn other members about, and to discuss, scams/spam. You can subscribe to the list by going to the PCUG's scamwatch listinfo page.
See also our page with more practical guidance on Handling Email SPAM
- 1 More Information
- 2 Scam Warnings
- 3 Scams Targetting PCUG Members Specifically
- 4 See Also
For some guidance on how to avoid being caught by scams, see:
- Stay Smart Online, an Australian government site with lots of useful information
- the free "The Little Black Book of Scams" from the ACCC
- Australian Government ACCC Scamwatch - a number of members have found a subscription to their scamwatch list useful
- report a scam to the ACCC
- ASIC Moneysmart site - Financial scams recorded by ASIC
- AFP information on Internet Fraud & scams
- Wikipedia’s list of frauds/scams
- Wikipedia’s list of e-mail scams
Most scams use well-known brands to try to convince you of their trustworthiness - the Australian Government and its agencies, ANZ, NAB, Westpac and Commonwealth banks, Woolworths, Coles and the list goes on. If you are in doubt about any company-branded email, find their real site and visit it. Most have gotten over their shyness about scammers trying to steal their identities, and are quite up front about the attempts being made to con readers.
- Various scams used to trick holiday makers - 13 May 2013
- ANZ Hoax e-mails - May 2013
- Woolworths Scam Surveys - 8 June 2013
- ATO warns about tax avoidance schemes - 18 June 2013
- Friend overseas, and Surveys - 17th July 2013
- Tax Refund scams - 17th July 2013
- Ransomware scam - 18th July 2013
- NAB phishing e-mails - 5th Aug 2013
- Shopping Scams up by 65% - 8th Aug 2013
Scams Targetting PCUG Members Specifically
We note here some recently seen scam emails that use PCUG's name and/or address in them. As stated above, these should be obviously noted as scams, since we will never ask you for this type of information by email.
SCAM - Nov 2013 - Subject: Dear Pcug User, - From: Pcug Administrator
The following scam is being sent to members circa November 2013. Note
- the actual from address is a brazilian account! firstname.lastname@example.org
- PCUG members are not specifically addressed in the To address
- the supplied link is not part of the PCUG website
- the grammar is woeful!
Do NOT follow the link and provide requested details!
From: Pcug Administrator  Sent: Tuesday, 19 November 2013 2:25 PM To: undisclosed-recipients: Subject: Dear Pcug User, Dear Pcug User, A phish attempt, banned phrase or sensitive information was detected in a message sent to you and the original message has been quarantined. This message is a copy of the original with the content replaced with this text. The subject line and sender information has been unaltered from the original. Please you are to re-validate your pcug.org.au email address immediately. Please copy and paste the link on you web Browser or click on the link then fill and submit. http://pcug.form2go.com/125479.html Thanks. Help Desk
SCAM - Sep 2013 - No Subject - PCUG Network Manager
The following scam is being sent to members circa September 2013. Note the actual from address is a gmail account!: email@example.com
Do not open the PDF attachment!
From: PCUG Network Manager <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: undisclosed-recipients:; Subject: In order to comply with PCUG Corporate Policy, it is your responsibility to validate the mailbox ownership and review the access rights due to unauthorized access to your account by spammers. modifications to the permissions are required, please complete the Department Mailbox Request Form by viewing the enclosed attachment and follow instruction therein. Regards, PCUG Network Manager Production Security Compliance
SCAM - Jul 2013 - Your mailbox is nearly over its size limit
The following scam is being sent to members circa July 2013. Note the actual reply email address is in Thailand despite what the "text" name says!
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] To: XXX@pcug.org.au Subject: Your mailbox is nearly over its size limit Your mailbox has exceeded one or more size limits set by your administrator, we have decided to run a database clean-up and refresh your mailbox. please provide the below credentials : Email Address: Username : Password: Confirm Password: System Administrator
SCAM - Jan 2014 - SCAMwatch warning to smartphone and tablet users
SCAMwatch is warning consumers to beware of scammers targeting their smartphones and tablet devices with the computer virus scam.
This scam has caught out many Australians in recent years, with victims receiving a call out of the blue from a ‘technical specialist’ claiming that their computer has a virus. The caller convinces the victim to provide them with remote access to their computer, claims that their security has been compromised, and then offers to fix it on the spot – for a fee.
In a new twist, scammers are claiming to be able to fix similar viruses on people’s smartphones or tablets. As with the previous version, the scammer will ask you to grant them remote access to your computer, however they will also ask you to connect your mobile device to the computer so that they can access the device through it.
Don’t let your guard drop by a sense of urgency – these scammers are well-versed at applying high pressure sales tactics to incite fear and anxiety that your device has been compromised and must be fixed immediately. In fact, the only way that you risk your device’s security is by providing access in the first place. If you hand over your money, your device will not receive the promised protection.
Ask yourself: why would a business call and offer to fix your computer unless you contacted them in the first place? If you store personal information on your phone, tablet or computer, keep it out of the hands of scammers – never provide remote access to a stranger.
How the scam works:-
- You receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be a technical support specialist, who informs you that your computer, smartphone or tablet has been compromised by malicious software.
- The caller may claim to represent a reputable business such as Microsoft, Windows, Telstra or Bigpond.
- They may also sound like an expert as they use technical jargon.
- The ‘technician’ will ask you to provide them with remote access to your computer so that they can run a scan.
- If they claim the virus is on your smartphone or tablet, they will ask you to connect the device to your computer so that they can access the device through it.
- If you provide them with access, they will claim that the scan has indeed detected a virus, and any information stored on the device has been compromised.
- The ‘technician’ will then claim that they can restore your computer’s security on the spot – for a fee. They will offer to install anti-virus software on to your device for a one-off payment that typically ranges from $100 to $300.
- If you hesitate to agree, the caller will be very persistent and try to evoke a sense of urgency by claiming that anything could happen to your device if you don’t fix it now.
- To pay, they will ask for your credit card or banking details, or to transfer them money.
- If you provide remote access to the caller, only then are your compromising your device and personal information. If you hand over your money, your device will never receive the promised security software.
- If you receive a phone call from someone claiming there is something wrong with your computer or mobile device’s security, just hang up.
- Never give a stranger remote access to your mobile device or computer.
- Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you initiated the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
- Make sure your computer is protected with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall - but only purchase the software from a source that you know and trust.
- If you think your mobile device or computer’s security has been compromised, seek out help or advice from a qualified and reputable technician.
- If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.
- Spam - for details on spam messages, which are often used in scams