2018 Scams Awareness Week
Eharmony is a proud partner of Scams Awareness Week – an annual initiative by the ACCC to raise awareness of and prevent online scams in Australia. This year the focus is on threat-based impersonation scams with the slogan ‘Stop and check: is this for real?’
In these scams, scammers pretend to be from a government agency or well-known, trusted business and use threats to pressure or scare you into giving them money or your personal information. They may threaten that you will receive a fine, that you will be charged additional fees, that your internet will be disconnected, that the police or debt collectors will come to your home, or that you will be taken to court, arrested or even deported.
These scammers and their threats can seem genuine and frightening. They make you feel as if you’ve done something wrong or that there’s some urgency and you must do what they say immediately or suffer the consequences. And many people have believed these threats. According to Scamwatch, over $4.7 million was reported lost and more than 2800 people gave their personal information to these scammers in 2017.
While this particular scam has been common for impersonating government agencies or well-known essential services companies such as telecommunications, as with any online service it’s important for online daters to understand how to recognise and protect themselves from these scams.
And even though eharmony has a number of safety measures in place including an entire Trust and Safety team dedicated to monitoring the site for suspicious activity and preventing fraud, members are urged to take responsibility for their online safety by following these simple precautions:
- When dealing with uninvited contacts from government agencies or trusted businesses – whether over the phone, by email, mail, in person or through social media – always consider the possibility that it may be a scam.
- If you’re unsure whether a call or email is genuine, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source, such as a phone book or online search, then get in touch with them to ask if they contacted you. Don’t use the contact details provided by the caller or in the message they sent to you.
- Don’t be pressured by a threatening caller. Hang up then check whether their story is real.
- Don’t respond to threatening emails or voicemail messages asking for you to call someone back. If you do, the scammers may increase their intimidation and attempts to get your money.
- If you’re still unsure, speak to a trusted friend or family member about what has happened.
- Never send money or give your bank account details, credit card details or other personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust, and never by email or over the phone.
A government agency or trusted business will never ask you to pay by unusual methods such as with gift or store cards, iTunes cards, wire transfers or bitcoin.
- Don’t open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or emails and don’t click on links or open attachments – just delete them.
- Never give anyone remote access to your computer if they’ve contacted you out of the blue – whether through a phone call, pop up window or email – and even if they claim to be from a well-known company like eharmony.
For more information about scams, where to get help if you’ve been scammed or to report a scam, visit the Scamwatch website. And to report any suspicious match on eharmony or a match that has violated eharmony’s Terms and Conditions. Instead of emailing us, you can now report the match to us directly! To report a match, click on the menu in the bottom right corner of the match’s profile photo or your communication page (the menu appears as 3 dots), from here, you will be provided an option to “Block This Match” or “Report This Match”. Once reported, this information will be sent directly to our Trust & Safety team for review. We can assure you that all reports are kept completely confidential.
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