Australians lost more than $634 million to a wide variety of financial scams in 2019(1), according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch website.
This was a 30 per cent increase on 2018, when $489 million was reported lost (2) and underlines why QSuper believes it is important to treat your financial assets, including your super, with the same caution as your physical assets.
QSuper is committed to protecting our members’ super savings and has strong measures in place to detect suspicious behaviour. This includes a fraud and corruption control policy that provides for detection, prevention and reporting of financial crimes.
Rebecca Mallett, from QSuper’s Financial Crimes team, says there are also actions you can take to prevent yourself becoming a victim of a financial crime, particularly at a time when Scamwatch has reported scammers(3) have been taking advantage of people suffering financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Mallett says QSuper’s Financial Crimes team may be able to help members keep their savings safe, especially if they have concerns about financial abuse.
We’re always ready to help
If you feel pressured to withdraw funds from your super account, or to proceed with a request that is not in your best interests, QSuper can protect members.
Some scenarios of where possible financial abuse might be occurring are:
- A member calls to enquire about their account and once they pass security checks, another person takes over the call and no longer allows the member to engage in the conversation.
- QSuper staff can no longer reach a member directly. When we try to make contact, we are told the member is either busy, sleeping or unable to take a call and we are required to only engage with a third party, who may or may not hold authority over the account.
- We receive calls from a third party demanding access to a member’s online profile or looking to manage the account on behalf of the member.
QSuper takes the security of member accounts very seriously and if they are concerned around the security of their account, or payments being actioned without your knowledge, the fund can always apply additional security controls.
Simple steps to protect your savings
1. Check balances regularly
Regular checking of financial transactions and balances is one of the best security precautions that superannuation investors can take. If you see any unusual transactions in your account, get in touch with your super fund immediately to discuss your concerns.
2. Add additional security to your accounts
For QSuper members, extra security checks can be added to your accounts. The additional security questions can be put on for a specified period of time or on an ongoing basis.
3. Delete sent emails
Hackers can use items in your email account to replicate your digital identity. While it is recommended to regularly delete items from your email account, sent emails are an often-forgotten area that provides another avenue of opportunity for hackers.
“People check and delete emails from their inbox but can often overlook what has been sent. It’s not just about keeping your super safe, it is about keeping your identity safe,” Ms Mallett said.
4. Protect your passwords
One of the most important ways to keep your accounts safe is to protect your passwords. Choose passwords that are difficult for others to guess and update them regularly, as well as if your circumstances change. Don’t use passwords that use your name or other identifying characteristics.
And don’t share passwords with anyone – including your partner, accountant or financial adviser.
5. Regularly check third party authorities
Third party and personal authority requests can be loaded onto your account and remain valid for a period of three years from acceptance.
It’s important to ensure that you regularly review these requests and keep them up-to-date or have them removed from your account when circumstances change. This could include when there is a relationship breakdown as these remain valid until revoked or the three-year expiry date.
Find out more ways to protect your privacy or about protecting yourself from scams.
2018 losses do not include losses reported to the big four banks, which were included for the first time in 2019. https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/1657RPT_Targeting%20scams%202019_D07.pdf
ACCC media release: ‘Scammers targeting superannuation in COVID-19 crisis’, 6 April 2020.
QInvest Limited (ABN 35 063 511 580, AFSL 238274) and QInsure Limited (ABN 79 607 345 853, AFSL 483057) are ultimately owned by the QSuper Board as trustee for QSuper.