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The World Wide Web is a wonderful, bizarre, interesting, distasteful and sometimes scary place. In many ways it reflects real life. Like the real word, there are scams that can catch the unwary.

Email Scams
You should all now be aware of email scams, emails purporting to be from your bank, and often asking you to click a link, or to change your account password. Never follow links from such email, if you have to go the website, make sure you enter the domain name in your browser yourself.

When entering a domain name in your browser, make sure you have entered the correct spelling and domain address. Never guess it, and Don't follow links to domains from suspect emails, especially if it is to your banking or other popular website.

Criminals can now create fake sites that look identical to the real websites - hence the term 'phishing' - to describe how crooks go about the process of criminally fraudulent attempts at acquiring sensitive information such as your usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy website (in other words, a fake website).

Domain Renewal Scams
For may small business who have brought a domain name and have it hosted through a particular service provider /  registrar, you may receive a letter or invoice that looks like a renewal notice for your actual domain name, but it is from different company to the one you have previously used to register your domain name. This scam can work by you giving them permission to transfer your domain to them and paying them, often at prices that are higher then your original registrar. In the worst case scenario, you may end up losing your domain, which can end up on the open auction market.

Another scam is that of receiving a renewal notice / invoice for a domain that is very to similar to your current domain name - where the scammer hopes that you Don't notice the difference and you just automatically pay the invoice.

If in doubt about any of the scams, always check with your relevant provider, bank, registrar etc. You can also do a search using the key words and name/domain address of the sender. A search often turns up information on these scams. Australia also has a website, SCAMwatch - providing information about scams. Other countries may have something similar, but the nature of the internet, you most probably will also find it on SCAMwatch and other similar government sites.

Phishing and Scams Alerts Resources

SCAMwatch is a website run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams. Scams that are reported to SCAMwatch will be analysed by the ACCC.

Many scams originate overseas or take place over the internet, making them very difficult to track down and prosecute. If you lose money to a scam, it is unlikely that you will be able to recover your loss. The ACCC publishes this website to help consumers recognise and prevent scams.
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