A Christmas parcel delivery scam is heartlessly targeting consumers this festive season.
Emails pretending to be from Australia Post or other parcel delivery firms fool people into clicking onto a link which then downloads a virus to their computer, leaving personal details vulnerable.
It’s one of many scams which resurface every Christmas, experts warn.
Consumer boss Tim Falinski, from antivirus firm Trend Micro APAC said the number of scams tripled over the festive season – and warned consumers to be careful what they click on.
“All they’re trying to do is get you to click on an attachment so they can download a virus to your computer,”.
“We see an amazing rise in scams at Christmas time.”
An automated phone call of a man with an American accent – which appears to come from a Sydney number – asked the recipient to get back to them or ‘we have to issue an arrest warrant under your name and get you arrested.’
Another common scam sees callers pretend to be from the Australian Taxation office. They often demand payment in the form of Apple Gift Cards. It’s unusual methods of payment like this which should flag that the caller isn’t genuine.
“They’re generally automated voices, we are seeing a couple with some people, and asking you to you to call a number which will get routed overseas,” Mr Falinski said. “If you do get a call from the ATO, hang up and call the main number and ask to get put through to a case officer.
“You really need to think before you click at this time of the year. A lot comes by email.”
“Be very careful about what you’re opening. If an email’s got a link to click to or an attachment, that‘s where you’ve gotta think twice.
“The other thing to do is if you’re not being asked to pay by normal means, Mastercard, Visa, something like that – like an Apple Gift Card, it’s probably a scam and be very careful about what you do.
Other current scams to watch out for involve Christmas e-cards, online shopping, charities and dating and romance. Facebook is also a common place for scams.
A Brisbane woman who had closed down her account was shocked to see it had been reactivated – with a scammer going on to gain access to her bank and Centrelink accounts. Both the Police and Facebook were little help. According to scamwatch so far this year more than $94m has been lost to scams. More than 130,000 reports have been made to the organisation. The scams which have lost consumers the most money were investment scams followed by dating and romance.
Most scammers used phones to target victims, followed by email.
Report a scam via Scamwatch at scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam