Initiatives launched to protect against Internet scams

End user education key to success

The federal government is relying on end user education to try and deal with online fraud and increasingly sophisticated e-mail attacks.

Earlier today the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce launched an initiative to educate end users on how to secure their PCs and laptops.

IT Minister Senator Helen Coonan, welcomed the initiative encouraging users to think about security each time they go online.

"Online scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the hope of catching people out," Coonan said.

"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.

"It's important that you install and continue to update your security software. This is the best way to help ensure you are protected every time you go online."

The federal government has introduced a broad package of practical initiatives to target Internet, e-mail, phone and mobile scams.

The government's online security Web site, www.staysmartonline.gov.au provides simple advice on how to secure computers, transact and interact safely online.

"Protecting Your Computer" is the theme for the third week of a four week campaign launched by the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce on March 4, 2007.

The campaign has the support of agencies such as the Australian Federal Police and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Recommendations provided by the taskforce include the basics such as keeping software up-to-date and deleting unknown e-mails.

The 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.

For more information visit www.scamwatch.gov.au.

There is also a scam survey on the Australian Institute of Criminology Web site at http://web.aic.gov.au/surveys/acft/

In a report released today by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internet auction fraud remains the most frequently reported online crime, but complaints over online purchases that are never delivered are also on the rise.

According to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3), auction fraud complaints made up about 45 percent of the 207,492 complaints received by the IC3 last year, but that number is down significantly from 2005, when auction fraud was cited 63 percent of the time.

Overall, the number of complaints received by IC3 was down 10 percent from the previous year, when the IC3 logged 231,493 complaints.

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