Consumer warning as Aus phishing complaints rise

Consumer warning as Aust phishing complaints rise

One in five consumer scam complaints received by Australia's securities and investments regulator this financial year related to phishing, its consumer protection boss warned today.

Greg Tanzer, Australian Securities and Investments Commission executive director of consumer protection, said the number of complaints over phishing had risen by 25 percent over the past two years as scammers adopted more elaborate techniques to con people out of their personal details. These details are used to facilitate identity theft.

"The techniques adopted by phishing scammers are becoming more sophisticated and are always changing, mostly due to the rapid increases in modern technology," Tanzer said in a statement titled ASIC Consumer Alert.

"In the past financial year, we found that scammers used a more targeted and personalised approach to request financial details," he said.

"For example, e-mails and Web site links mirrored legitimate bank Web sites and bogus job offers were used to coax people into [giving] bank account details."

He said other cases involved requests being made for personal information through eBay and for online share trading details whereby scammers would ask for password details by telephone.

Tanzer said it had "never been more important" for individuals to be wary of e-mails asking for their personal details.

"I can't stress it enough, never give your personal banking and other financial details by e-mail," he warned.