Hacked email used to move 'hundreds of thousands' in cash

MACKAY Police say a Mackay resident's email account was recently hacked and seemingly used to discuss the movement of "hundreds of thousands of dollars" by criminals.

Senior Constable Steve Smith warned: "Cyber-crime is a constantly evolving thing. We see new trends developing always."

One such trend was reportedly email account takeovers.

"A fresh strategy which seems to be sinking its claws in deep is linked to to email account takeovers - and it's paying big dividends for the crooks," Snr Const Smith said.

"A resident in the Mackay district appears to have had their computer system breached, personal information accessed and their email account overrun. 

"The victim's email system has then been used in a series of communications to arrange for the movement of what is reported as being hundreds of thousands of dollars - proper identifications and authorities linked to the victim were appropriately used by the crook to enable this to happen."

Snr Const Smith said scouring through data from security firms and social media sites led him to believe email takeovers "are becoming a scourge". "...they are extremely difficult to identify. But you can reduce your risk to exposure," he said. 

He offered the following tips:

  • Instinctively become protective of your personal information, this includes over the telephone.
  • Don't click links or open attachments in unsolicited emails - this can allow the activation of malware which will infiltrate your systems (including smartphones and tablets)  Invest in a solid anti-virus system.
  • Don't for one minute believe that the free system you downloaded from the internet can protect you from modern risks. That's like going out into a cold winter morning wearing only a singlet to keep you warm.
  • Some people conducting "surveys" or "questionnaires" will prompt you to provide personal information - be wary.Syndicates are known to collect data in this fashion and on-sell it to those willing to bid.
  • Under-reporting of cyber-crime incidents is a hurdle for law enforcement.
  • If the crooks can get away with their profitable activities at no risk, they won't change a thing.

Incidents can be reported through the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network - known as ACORN.  



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