Protecting your computer from scammers

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Protecting your computer from scammers

The Government's latest initiative against scammers gets a round of applause from Senator Helen Coonan.

Online scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the hope of catching people out. While the same old scams are still being used, a growing number of scams employ malicious software designed to steal your personal details, without your knowledge.

That’s why Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, welcomed the 2007 Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce initiative encouraging Australian Internet users to protect their computers.

"Australians are increasingly using the Internet and enjoying the many benefits it offers," said Senator Coonan. "However, it’s important that people also think about security when they go online."

According to Coonan the Australian Government is committed to protecting consumers from scams of all kinds through effective legislation, regulation and education. As such, the Australian Government has introduced a broad package of practical initiatives to target Internet, email, phone and mobile scams.

The Australian Government’s online security website, www.staysmartonline.gov.au provides simple advice on how to secure your computer, transact and interact safely online.

Protecting Your Computer is the theme for the third week of a four week campaign by the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce, said Coonan.

The Taskforce recommends a number of simple steps that Australians can take to protect themselves online from Internet scams:

1. Keep your security software up-to-date;
2. Don’t respond in any way to unsolicited emails; and
3. If in doubt, delete.

The Australian Consumer Fraud Taskforce is part of a Government approach to combat consumer fraud and scams targeted at consumers, the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce was established in March 2005 and comprises all of the governmental regulatory agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand who have responsibilities for consumer protection.

The four-week campaign was launched on 4 March by the Australasian Consumer Fraud The following agencies participating in the Taskforce are an Australian Government: Attorney-General’s Department; Australian Bureau of Statistics; Australian Communications and Media Authority; Australian Competition and Consumer Commission; Australian Federal Police (represented by the Australian High Tech Crime Centre); Australian Institute of Criminology; Australian Securities and Investment Commission; and the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.

New Zealand Government: NZ Commerce Commission; Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
State and territory governments: All State and Territory Police jurisdictions; Australian Capital Territory—Office of Fair Trading; Consumer Affairs Victoria; New South Wales—Office of Fair Trading; Consumer Affairs Northern Territory; Queensland—Department of Tourism, Fair Trading and Wine Industry Development; South Australia—Office of Consumer and Business Affairs; Tasmania—Office of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading; Western Australia—Department of Consumer and Employment Protection.

Taskforce members are joined in communicating with Australian consumers about scams by a range of community, non-government and private sector organisations. Visit www.scamwatch.gov.au for a list of Taskforce partners.

Consumers who think they’ve spotted a scam can check the SCAMwatch website at www.scamwatch.gov.au which has detailed information about scams, or report a scam on 1300 795 995.

Consumers can also fill out the scams survey on the Australian Institute of Criminology website at http://web.aic.gov.au/surveys/acft/
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