Learn about cybercrime and how to keep your computer and devices safe.
What is cybercrime?
Criminals use an array of online or electronic means to access, acquire or modify restricted data such as personal information, banking credentials or credit card details. Most fraud and scams these days have a cyber component to them.
- Data breaches
- Denial of service attacks (Ddos)
- Online scams or social engineering
- Identity theft.
Phishing consists of fake emails and text messages with embedded links or attachments that direct to malicious sites or prompt malware to be installed. Criminals use phishing to steal personal information and/or banking details and commit fraud.
Online shopping is fast, convenient and a great way to avoid the crowds, but there are a few things you need to know to avoid getting duped or landing your credit card details in the wrong hands.
Online marketplaces are a common and convenient way to buy and sell goods. However, scammers can pose as both buyers and sellers, to try and scam you out of money or items you might be looking to sell or purchase online.
As more of our information is being captured and stored online, data breaches are becoming more prevalent. Criminals steal or illegally access information to carry out fraud, targeted scams or personalised phishing campaigns.
What to do if your information has been compromised in a data breach?
If an organisation has contacted you because they’ve suffered a data breach and your information has been taken or accessed, there are several things you can do to protect yourself.
- Be alert for any unusual calls, text messages or emails. Learn more about the latest scams and how to protect yourself.
- Review your bank statements for any payments you didn’t make. Contact us immediately if there are fraudulent payments on your account.
- If your credit card details have been compromised, cancel and replace your card.
- Set up security alerts on Westpac One® to keep track of online activity.
- Carefully read any alert or verification code that you receive and contact us immediately if there are any payment requests or password resets that you don’t recognise.
- Reset all passwords and PINs (for your bank and other online accounts). See our tips for keeping passwords safe.
- Review your online accounts for changes to settings (for example email forwarding rules) or unusual logins.
- Check your credit report for credit enquiries or accounts you didn’t request. You can ask credit reporting agencies to freeze your credit report if you’ve been the victim of fraud or identity theft. Visit the Privacy Commissioner website for more information on how to do this.
- Contact IDCARE on 0800 121 068 for specialist support to help secure your identity.
- Visit the Department of Internal Affairs website for more information on what to do if your ID documents have been stolen.
Protecting your information
While we can’t always avoid having our information captured and stored online, it’s important to be cautious about who you give your details to. Taking steps to protect your information now, can save you a lot of trouble in the future.
- Think about how an organisation may store and use your data before signing up to something or creating an online account.
- Avoid sharing personal information on social media.
- Regularly update software and operating systems on your devices.
- Use strong, unique passwords and change them regularly. Find a reputable password manager to help you keep them safe.
- Enable two-factor authentication on online accounts where possible.
- You can check if your personal data has been compromised at haveibeenpwned.com
Protect your computer and devices with security measures.
Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software
Get protection from viruses and spyware by installing reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Choose a reputable software provider. Once installed, keep your computer protected by:
- updating your software regularly
- setting your computer to automatically check for new virus definitions regularly
- performing regular full scans of your computer, at least weekly
- backing up your devices so you can easily recover your data if necessary
- enabling the screen self-lock function on your devices.
Keep your browser and operating system up to date
From time to time, security weaknesses or bugs are found in browsers and operating systems. Make sure you:
- update your operating system as soon as a new version is released
- install updates to all your applications as soon as they are available
- apply new security patches to software as soon as possible
- avoid downloading programmes, installing software or downloading files unless you can confirm it is from a reputable site and you have a genuine reason to do so.
Using other computers or devices
Avoid using computers or devices that don’t belong to you, or that others can access freely. If you are using a shared computer:
- ensure the computer has the latest anti-virus software, and anti-spyware software installed
- always log out of online accounts when you are finished using them
- enable two factor authentication for online accounts
- password protect any sensitive information such as identification documents or electronic signatures
- do not store passwords or password managers on a shared computer or device unless you can ensure they cannot be accessed by a third party, for example by using Face ID technology.
This is not secure. Never log into online banking or other services that hold personal or sensitive information using public Wi-Fi. Instead, use mobile data if a private Wi-Fi connection is not available and use the personal hotspot feature on you smartphone.
Is your computer infected?
Seek advice from a qualified and reputable computer technician if you:
- Are experiencing any unusual activity on your computer, such as unusual icons or extra toolbars appearing, programmes freezing or changes to your homepage that you didn’t initiate
- Have clicked on suspicious links or attachments
- Have given someone remote access to your computer
- Believe that your computer has been hacked.
In some cases, unobtrusive or covert issues – such as keyboard logging or spyware – may not be obvious. You should review your bank statements regularly and make sure all transactions were initiated by you.
Tips to secure your devices.
Report a scam.
If you believe you have received a suspicious email, you can forward it to us.
Talk to us
Need further help?
Report to other agencies
Once you have spoken to us, you should report scams to other agencies so that they can take steps to prevent other people being targeted by them and losing money.
Things you should know.
Payments that you authorise yourself are generally not considered fraudulent. It’s likely that you will be liable for any losses incurred and it can be difficult to recover the money once the payment has been made. Take care when making payments and ensure you take steps to protect yourself from scams.