I just received a warning from the government website – Stay Smart Online:
It’s free to register and the warnings can save you from malicious attack. Anyway, this particular warning referred to a new email scam that was reported by the Herald Sun newspaper on the 19th of July, 2017. You can read it here:
Basically, the scammers have copied the Origin Energy bill payment email format to trick customers into clicking on fake links that will expose them to malware or worse. Sadly, this is an eventuality I predicted over a year ago when I wrote a post about this very issue:
‘What’s wrong [with email bills] is that each link is a potential opening for scammers to steal your information, especially that big, orange ‘Pay now’ button. You see, these days, the really good scammers can reproduce the Origin Energy logo, its fonts, the colours, even the text…PERFECTLY. If you were to receive one of these reproductions, you would need to look very, very carefully to pick the fake from the original. And let’s face it, how many of us scrutinise each email we receive, especially when we are expecting to receive it?’
You can read the full post here:
The Origin Energy response has been to ‘teach’ customers how to spot a fake email. Not good enough. Here’s what I wrote in that same post from June last year:
‘And what do you think the big corporations are going to do about the theft of all my money? Will they pull their hair out by the roots and cry ‘mea culpa, mea culpa’? Not on your life. They’ll say that the fault was all mine. They’ll say that they warn customers about ‘scammers’ so it’s a case of ‘buyer beware’.
Having our accounts hacked is too high a price to pay for the convenience on offer. NEVER pay your Origin Energy bills via their emails. Pretend they’re just paper bills and go into your internet banking to pay them safely. Origin Energy created an opening for scammers and you didn’t have to be a psychic to know this would be the result. 😦
July 23rd, 2017 at 9:35 am
You are so right that the companies will claim that the consumer is in the wrong, and should be more careful. Of course we should, but it is so easy to open emails that, as you say, we are expecting.
Another aspect of email bills that annoys me is how the costs, such as postage, have been thrown onto the consumer. And the bills continue to go up! Grrrr….
July 23rd, 2017 at 7:21 pm
Yes! Postage and all that administration. When it suited them they’d slug us for it but now they’re staying very quiet about the savings…to them. 😦
July 21st, 2017 at 10:06 pm
Yes. This. All of it.
The FTC is a site int he US that will also send out regular warnings of new scams.
I never pay bills through online statements. I ALWAYS go to my bank.
And, I always recommend using a real credit card (not a debit card). Yes, sure, debit cards have protections. But at least int he US, they are not nearly as robust as credit card protections. As a matter of fact, I only have a debit card. It does not have a credit card function on it.
July 22nd, 2017 at 11:40 am
Sadly I think we are in the minority. I hate to think how many people have to get scammed before they learn a bit of commonsense and caution. 😦
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