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Real estate agent's embarrassing email mix-up

<p>A Melbourne real estate agent has sparked fury online after mistakenly sending a tenant an email intended for his landlord. </p> <p>The email was posted on Reddit, and the property manager can be seen complaining about the tenant's "high maintenance" nature before suggesting that they hike up his rent. </p> <p>"Out of all the properties I manage, he has the most maintenance requests and occupies the most of my (and therefore your) time," his email read. </p> <p>The agent claimed that the tenant called every day for two weeks to try and get his aircon fixed, saying "the receptions (sic) are sick of him."</p> <p>"In order to play this smooth I think you should offer to renew the lease but with an exorbitant increase (I'm thinking go from $500 to $950) and attribute it to the current rental market," the agent continued. </p> <p>"I don't think we'd get this much if we re-listed but we'd certainly get a bit of a boost not to mention the peace of mind of having a better tenant." </p> <p>Redditors were furious at the agents tactics, with the current housing crisis, and many backed the tenant. </p> <p>"If it's during a very hot or very cold period of days the premises could very well be uninhabitable without aircon," one wrote. </p> <p>In Victoria, rental laws make urgent repairs actionable immediately, whereas anything non urgent, needs to be completed within two weeks of a written request. </p> <p>His aircon not working was potentially an urgent request as as Victorian law requires minimum standards of heating. </p> <p>"Oh, that's straight to NCAT (in NSW). I would destroy these people,'" another furious person added. </p> <p>Others called the agent out for being "lazy" for not handling the tenants complaint properly. </p> <p>"The tenant didn't have a required service working and absolutely held us accountable. What a pest," wrote one person. </p> <p><em>Image: Reddit/ Shutterstock</em></p> <p> </p>

Legal

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Mistake in email causes Virgin Australia passenger to miss flight

<p>A Virgin Australia passenger was left $800 out of pocket after he arrived at a closed check-in desk despite arriving well before the departure time, and he now believes that it's because of a mistake in the email he received from the airline. </p> <p>Max Cameron, 64, flies several times a week between Launceston airport in Tasmania and Melbourne for work, and received an email from the airline saying his flight was delayed back in January. </p> <p>"I got a text and an email from Virgin saying, very sorry to let you know your plane has been delayed by 45 minutes,"  he told <em>Yahoo News Australia</em>. </p> <p>The email also read "Check-in will now close 30 minutes prior to this time."</p> <p>"I thought, well done Virgin. You've come through… you've let me know when I have to be there. And as a result, I got out to the airport at 9:25pm for a 9:45pm closure of check-in," Cameron said. </p> <p>However when he arrived there was "literally not one person in the Virgin terminal,"  so he eventually had to leave, with no choice but to buy another flight ticket which cost him $800 including extra accommodation and transport costs. </p> <p>"I put my tail between the legs, went back and bought another ticket. I was very annoyed about that but I had no choice... check-in closed early," he said.</p> <p>After submitting an enquiry to the customer service team, they told him he had to arrive 30 minutes before the <em>original</em> departure time - a different instruction to what he received in the email, with the revised departure time. </p> <p>At the time, the enquiry was closed and the team said he would not receive any compensation. </p> <p>Cameron, who was unsatisfied with the response, then spoke to a supervisor at the airport, who told him: "Oh my God, it looks like they sent you the wrong email".</p> <p>According to Yahoo News Australia, Cameron reportedly did receive incorrect information which led him to miss his flight. </p> <p>Cameron has since been in touch with the airline and hopes to be reimbursed, but remains "unhappy" after what he had to go through. </p> <p>"It's not the money but the lack of accountability... there is no service mentality anymore," he said.</p> <p>"What Virgin has done to me is just so wrong".</p> <p><em style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;">Images: Yahoo News / Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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"Eviction season": Real estate slammed for callous Christmas email

<p>A real estate agency has been forced to apologise after tenants were sent a callous email about paying their rent on time over the Christmas period. </p> <p>The email, which is believed to be sent by Professionals Taylor Lakes in Melbourne, referred to the festive period as "eviction season", and encouraged renters to make timely payments to ensure "your living arrangements are not jeopardised over this festive period".</p> <p>"Christmas is a fantastic time of year and also a very busy time," the email begins.</p> <p>"Christmas time is also known in property circles as 'eviction season' as so many people choose to use their rental payments for Christmas spending instead of ensuring that their family accommodation remains top priority over this period.</p> <p>"We see so many tenants fall behind in their rent and then get into the position where they are not able to catch up, as this is their biggest financial obligation."</p> <p>The agency said it didn't want to be tasked with the "unfortunate job" of having to remove and evict them from their homes over Christmas. </p> <p>"We find this action very unpleasant for everyone concerned and we all enjoy our Christmas much less because of it," it said.</p> <p>"We urge you to pay careful attention and ensure that throughout December and January, you pay your rent on time, every time!"</p> <p>The email was met with a wave of backlash online, with many calling the message "thoughtless" and "not professional". </p> <p>"This is just appalling," Anti-Poverty Network SA wrote on Facebook.</p> <p>Professionals chief executive Katherine Gonzalez-Cork said the email was brought to her attention on Wednesday morning, and offered an apology to the recipients.</p> <p>"The email was distributed to tenants directly from the Taylors Lakes office and the content was not endorsed by me or the Board of Professionals and does not represent our company's expectations of communication with our property renters," she said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Why do I get so much spam and unwanted email in my inbox? And how can I get rid of it?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kayleen-manwaring-8735">Kayleen Manwaring</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Spam might not have brought an end to the internet or email, as some dire predictions <a href="https://www.zdnet.com/article/why-spam-could-destroy-the-internet/">in the early 2000s</a> claimed it could – but it’s still a massive pain.</p> <p>Despite all the spam being removed by spam-filtering technologies, most people still receive spam every day. How do these messages end up flooding our inboxes? And are there any legal consequences for the senders?</p> <h2>What is spam?</h2> <p>The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) noted in 2004 “there does not appear to be a widely agreed and workable definition for spam” across jurisdictions – and this remains true today.</p> <p>That said, “spam” generally <a href="https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/232784860063.pdf?expires=1693541947&amp;id=id&amp;accname=ocid177499&amp;checksum=D0C5BDAC49951DF353618B8E38483253">refers to</a> unsolicited electronic messages. These are often sent in bulk and frequently advertise goods or services. It also includes scamming and phishing messages, according to the OECD.</p> <p>Most people think of spam in the form of emails or SMS messages. However, what we now call spam actually predates the internet. In 1854, a spam telegram was sent to British politicians advertising the opening hours of dentists who <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/09/why-spammers-are-winning-junk-mail">sold tooth-whitening powder</a>.</p> <p>The first spam email came more than 100 years later. It was reportedly sent to 600 people on May 3 1978 <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20080628205216/http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-fi-spam11may11001420,1,5168218,full.story">through ARPAnet</a> – a precursor to the modern internet.</p> <p>As for how much spam is out there, the figures vary, possibly due to the various <a href="https://www.spamhaus.org/consumer/definition/">definitions of “spam”</a>. One source reports the average number of spam emails sent daily in 2022 was about <a href="https://dataprot.net/statistics/spam-statistics/">122.33 billion</a> (which would mean more than half of all emails were spam). As for text messages, another source reports a daily average of 1.6 billion <a href="https://thesmallbusinessblog.net/spam-text-statistics/">spam texts</a>.</p> <h2>Where do spammers get my details?</h2> <p>Each time you enter your email address or phone number into an e-commerce website, you may be handing it to spammers.</p> <p>But sometimes you may even receive spam from entities you don’t recognise. That’s because businesses will often transfer customers’ contact information to related companies, or sell their data to third parties such as data brokers.</p> <p>Australia’s Privacy Act 1988 somewhat limits the transfer of personal information to third parties. However, these laws <a href="https://theconversation.com/accc-says-consumers-need-more-choices-about-what-online-marketplaces-are-doing-with-their-data-182134">are weak</a> – and <a href="http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/unsworks_75600">weakly enforced</a>.</p> <p>Some entities also use “address-harvesting” software to search the internet for electronic addresses that are captured in a database. The collector then uses these addresses directly, or sells them to others looking to send spam.</p> <p>Many jurisdictions (including <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sa200366/s19.html">Australia</a>) prohibit these harvesting activities, but they are still <a href="https://www.projecthoneypot.org/statistics.php">common</a>.</p> <h2>Is spamming against the law?</h2> <p>Australia has had legislation regulating spam messaging since 2003. But the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2016C00614">Spam Act</a> surprisingly does not define the word “spam”. It tackles spam by prohibiting the sending of <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sa200366/s15.html">unsolicited commercial electronic messages</a> containing offers, ads or other promotions of goods, services or land.</p> <p>However, if the receiver <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sa200366/sch2.html">consented</a> to these types of messages, the prohibition does not apply. When you buy goods or services from a company, you will often see a request to click on a “yes” button to receive marketing promotions. Doing so means you have consented.</p> <p>On the other hand, if your phone or inbox are hit by commercial messages you haven’t agreed to receive, that is a breach of the <a href="https://austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sa200366/">Spam Act</a> by the sender. If you originally signed up to receive the messages, but then unsubscribed and the messages kept coming after <a href="https://austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sa200366/sch2.html">five business days</a>, that is also illegal. Senders must also include a <a href="https://austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sa200366/s18.html">functioning unsubscribe facility</a> in every commercial message they send.</p> <p>Spammers can be penalised for breaches of the Spam Act. In the past few months alone, <a href="https://www.acma.gov.au/articles/2023-06/commonwealth-bank-penalised-355-million-spam-breaches">Commonwealth Bank</a>, <a href="https://www.acma.gov.au/articles/2023-08/doordash-penalised-2-million-spam-breaches">DoorDash</a> and <a href="https://www.acma.gov.au/articles/2023-06/mycar-tyre-auto-penalised-1m-spam-breaches">mycar Tyre &amp; Auto</a> were fined more than A$6 million in total for breaches.</p> <p>However, most spam comes from outside Australia where the laws aren’t the same. In the United States spam is legal under the <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/business-guidance/resources/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business">CAN-SPAM Act</a> until you opt out. Unsurprisingly, the US <a href="https://talosintelligence.com/reputation_center/email_rep#spam-country-senders">tops the list</a> of countries where the most spam originates.</p> <p>Although spam sent to Australia from overseas <a href="https://austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sa200366/s16.html">can still breach</a> the Spam Act – and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) co-operates with overseas regulators – overseas enforcement actions are difficult and expensive, especially if the spammer has disguised their true identity and location.</p> <p>It’s worth noting that messages from political parties, registered charities and government bodies aren’t prohibited – nor are messages from educational institutions to students and former students. So while you might consider these messages as “spam”, they can legally be <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sa200366/sch1.html">sent freely without consent</a>. Factual messages (without marketing content) from businesses are also legal as long as they include accurate sender details and contact information.</p> <p>Moreover, the Spam Act generally only covers spam sent via email, SMS/MMS or instant messaging services, such as WhatsApp. Voice calls and faxes aren’t covered (although you can use the <a href="https://www.donotcall.gov.au/">Do Not Call Register</a> to block some commercial calls).</p> <h2>Staying safe from spam (and cyberattacks)</h2> <p>Spam isn’t only annoying, it can also be dangerous. Spam messages can contain indecent images, scams and <a href="https://www.cyber.gov.au/learn-basics/explore-basics/watch-out-threats/phishing-emails-and-texts">phishing attempts</a>. Some have <a href="https://www.cyber.gov.au/threats/types-threats/malware">malware</a> (malicious software) designed to break into computer networks and cause harm, such as by stealing data or money, or shutting down systems.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.cyber.gov.au/protect-yourself/securing-your-email/email-security/protect-yourself-malicious-email">Australian Cyber Security Centre</a> and <a href="https://www.acma.gov.au/dealing-with-spam">ACMA</a> provide useful tips for reducing the spam you get and your risk of being hit by cyberattacks. They suggest to:</p> <ol> <li> <p>use a spam filter and block spammers – email and telecommunications providers often supply useful tools as part of their services</p> </li> <li> <p>unsubscribe from any emails you no longer want to receive – even if you originally agreed to receive them</p> </li> <li> <p>remove as much of your contact details from websites as you can and always restrict the sharing of your personal information (such as name, birth date, email address and mobile number) when you can – beware of pre-ticked boxes asking for your consent to receive marketing emails</p> </li> <li> <p>install cybersecurity updates for your devices and software as you get them</p> </li> <li> <p>always think twice about opening emails or clicking on links, especially for messages promising rewards or asking for personal information – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is</p> </li> <li> <p>use <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-multi-factor-authentication-and-how-should-i-be-using-it-191591">multi-factor authentication</a> to access online services so even if a scam compromises your login details, it will still be difficult for hackers to break into your accounts</p> </li> <li> <p>report spam to your email and telecommunications providers, and to <a href="https://www.acma.gov.au/dealing-with-spam#complain-or-forward-spam-to-the-acma">ACMA</a>. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/208665/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> </li> </ol> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kayleen-manwaring-8735"><em>Kayleen Manwaring</em></a><em>, Senior Research Fellow, UNSW Allens Hub for Technology, Law &amp; Innovation and Senior Lecturer, School of Private &amp; Commercial Law, UNSW Law &amp; Justice, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-do-i-get-so-much-spam-and-unwanted-email-in-my-inbox-and-how-can-i-get-rid-of-it-208665">original article</a>.</em></p>

Technology

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Devastating leaked email places Jenny Craig on brink of collapse

<p dir="ltr">Weight loss firm Jenny Craig is reportedly closing its doors after four decades leading the industry. </p> <p dir="ltr">According to leaked staff communications, <em>NBC News</em> have shared that the company’s corporate and salaried field employees will face their final day of work on May 5, while their hourly staff will experience theirs on May 9. In the email, Jenny Craig explained that this was occurring “due to its inability to secure additional financing”. </p> <p dir="ltr">Employees were informed, however, that they would be receiving a “final pay cheque, including your full compensation earned through your last day of work and all accrued, unused paid time off”. </p> <p dir="ltr">Rumours have circled the company for some time, with <em>Bloomberg</em> reporting in just April 2023 that they were on the hunt for a buyer. The publication claimed that a source told them the company was “considering a bankruptcy filing” if their efforts to secure a buyer failed.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Bloomberg </em>also shared the news that the company was in around $250,000 USD in debt (~$376,000 AUD/NZD).</p> <p dir="ltr">Around the same time, corporate staff at the company’s California office received notice that they would be closing June 24, but that that day may actually be as soon as the next Friday. An FAQ was also released to them, alongside an explanation that they would be decreasing their physical operations to make way for their more e-commerce focussed business model. </p> <p dir="ltr">As a spokesperson told <em>NBC News</em> in the wake of the reports of potential layoffs, the company was “embarking on the next phase of our business to evolve with the changing landscape of today’s consumers. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Like many other companies, we’re currently transitioning from a brick-and-mortar retail business to a customer-friendly, e-commerce driven model. We will have more details to share in the coming weeks as our plans are solidified.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite this assurance, even coupled with the latest communications, it remains unclear whether or not that transition will still be taking place, with employees left in a state of limbo. </p> <p dir="ltr">The industry supergiant currently employs over 1,000 members of staff, with approximately 500 stores - both company-owned and franchised - across just the United States and Canada, with a further 600 around the rest of the world, including Australia. </p> <p dir="ltr">The company was actually founded in Melbourne in 1983, by husband and wife Jenny and Sidney Craig. The American couple went on to take their venture back to the states, but not until two years later in 1985. </p> <p dir="ltr">And while the situation looks dire overseas, an employee did tell Bloomberg that franchise-owned locations “may remain open”, though this is yet to be confirmed.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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How to declutter your inbox

<p><strong><em>Lisa Du is director of <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.readytechgo.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ReadyTechGo</a></span>, a service that helps people gain the confidence and skills to embrace modern technology.</em></strong></p> <p>Is your inbox looking a little cluttered? Are you finding it hard to find past emails amongst the sheer mess that it already houses? There’s a solution, of course!</p> <p><strong>Delete, delete, delete</strong></p> <p>The first thing you should do? Delete stuff. Delete as much as you possibly can. And be ruthless about it. Don’t delete anything that you might need, obviously, like important receipts, password information, or reminders. But something like a notification from Facebook telling you that it’s someone’s birthday...yeah, that can go.</p> <p>For someone who doesn’t delete their emails, this will clear up your inbox considerably. In fact, it might take you a long while if you’re the type to leave hundreds of emails unread in your inbox. And for those of you who have thousands of unread emails, well... this process will be a lot more impractical for you.</p> <p><strong>File away your emails</strong></p> <p>Following this act of ruthless deletion, if your inbox is still looking a little too messy for your liking, there’s something else you can do: categorise. What this essentially means is that you can create different folders or labels for your emails, and then file your emails under each of these different folders accordingly. For instance, if you’ve been doing a little online shopping, and getting lots of confirmation emails for your orders, you might want to keep them in a folder called, “Shopping Receipts”.</p> <p>Though there are a lot of email hosts out there, the steps are generally the same. Here’s how to do it on a couple of sites.</p> <p><strong>On Gmail.com: </strong></p> <ol start="1"> <li>Go to Gmail on your browser and login to your account</li> <li>You’ll see a sidebar on the left-hand side of your screen with different email categories, including “Inbox” and “Sent Mail”. Click on “More”</li> <li>This will expand the sidebar selection. You’ll see a section that says “Categories”. Click on “Create new label” under this section</li> <li>In the dialog box that pops up, type in the name of your label</li> <li>Now, you’ll see your new label under the left-hand sidebar</li> <li>Simply click and drag your emails into this label to file them</li> <li>From now on, when you want to find emails under this label, you’ll need to click into the label to see them</li> </ol> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../media/29156/gmail-declutter-inbox_499x445.jpg" alt="Gmail Declutter Inbox" width="499" height="445" /></p> <p><strong>On Outlook.com</strong></p> <ol> <li>Login to your email account on Outlook.com</li> <li>You’ll see a sidebar on the left-hand side of your screen titled "Folders" with different email categories, including “Inbox” and “Junk Email”. Hover your mouse over this title</li> <li>Beside the word “Folders”, you’ll see a plus sign. Click on this plus sign to create a new folder</li> <li>At the bottom of your sidebar, you’ll see a new entry for a new folder. Type the name of your new folder into this entry and press ENTER on your keyboard</li> <li>This entry will now be a new folder under the left-hand sidebar</li> <li>Simply click and drag your emails into this folder to file them</li> <li>From now on, when you want to find emails under this folder, you’ll need to click into the folder to see them.</li> </ol> <p><strong><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../media/29155/outlook-delclutter-inbox.jpg" alt="Outlook Delclutter Inbox" width="449" height="168" /></strong></p> <p>Being able to file your emails under different categories will not only clear up your inbox, but it will also introduce some order to your emails. Finding certain emails will be easier, your inbox will be less of an eyesore, and important emails will be less likely to become lost amongst a sea of spam.</p> <p><em>For more information about ReadyTechGo, visit their <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.readytechgo.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">website here.</a></span></strong></em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Technology

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Leaked email advises landlords to increase rent amid housing crisis

<p dir="ltr">A real estate agency in Brisbane has come under fire over a leaked email in which landlords were advised to consider raising rents by more than 20 percent amid Australia’s worsening rental crisis.</p> <p dir="ltr">The email, sent by Ray White East End, asked landlords to consider whether their properties were being “under-rented” and advised them to increase rents by “above 20 percent” - more than double the rate of inflation - with potential earnings of an extra $10,000 a year.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Our property managers have been reviewing all our lease renewals and on average recommending a 17% rent increase on the leases renewed in October &amp; November this year,” the email said, per <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/oct/17/brisbane-real-estate-agency-advises-landlords-to-increase-rents-by-over-20-amid-housing-crisis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Guardian</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As we are planning December lease renewals, the average lease renewal recommendation is above 20%. This can be as much as $10,000 per year in additional rental income.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The agency said that “many landlords are not being provided with the information to make an informed decision” about rent increases, claiming that landlords were being advised to sign long-term leases with increases of $5 to $20 a week.</p> <p dir="ltr">The email also said that most tenants “are agreeable” to the increases and would understand that it is “fair and reasonable” based on what is available on the market.</p> <p dir="ltr">“On average, apartments in West End/Highgate Hill/South Brisbane/Brisbane CBD are renting for one bedroom $480 to $520+ [a week and for] two bedrooms $675 to $850+ [a week],” the email said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If you are not achieving these rents (at a minimum), you should be asking why?”</p> <p dir="ltr">It comes as the Queenlsand government prepares to hold a housing summit to address rising homlessness and rental stress across the state.</p> <p dir="ltr">Penny Carr, the chief executive at advocacy organisation Tenants Queensland, said the email was an example of “opportunistic price-gouging” that is happening across Australia at the moment.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Rents are unaffordable for people at the moment and tenants are having to absorb increases because of fear of not finding another property or becoming homeless,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We should only allow rent increases above CPI if they’re justifiable and there’s been major work to the property or something’s had to be replaced.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Carr said rent increases have been due to vacancy rates and supply and demand, and that the email dispels the myth that a land tax proposed by the government last year for interstate investors is to blame.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, Ray White East End principal realtor Luke O’Kelly said rental affordability relies on investors.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Over the past 12 months, Brisbane has had some of the strongest population growth in the country and this has most clearly shown up in rental growth,” Mr O’Kelly said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Right now, Brisbane doesn’t have enough homes for those that want to live here … with rents rising so quickly, Brisbane needs more property investors.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Fiona Caniglia, executive director of not-for-profit housing and homelessness organisation Q Shelter, said the timing of the email couldn’t be worse.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is disappointing to hear this the week of the emergency housing summit to be honest,” she told <em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/renting/dont-have-enough-homes-rental-agency-ray-white-tries-to-increase-rent-by-20-per-cent/news-story/e4ff2ab4807fffe3b50b90fe81069156" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news.com.au</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We already know that many vulnerable Queenslanders are struggling to secure a rental property in the first place.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“There are record numbers of people showing up for the small number of properties listed right across Queensland. Such an increase will only benefit those on higher incomes and will of course again negatively affect vulnerable Queenslanders, forcing more people into homelessness.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Ray White’s chief economist Nerida Conisbee defended the email in a statement shared with the outlet, saying that the market is currently ideal for investors.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Right now, Brisbane doesn’t have enough homes for those that want to live here,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is making it tough for renters but does make it a good place to invest. While red hot house price growth is unlikely to start up again in the near future, yields are increasing as rents rise.”</p> <p dir="ltr">With Australians paying an extra $7.1 billion in rent over the past year and the average renter spending $62 more a week than this time last year, Greens housing and homelessness spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather said the email showed that urgent action is needed.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s this sort of flagrant price-gouging that demonstrates exactly why we need a national two-year freeze on rent increases,” he said.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-605890c5-7fff-934e-a79a-b24009315c32"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Real Estate

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Dream home turns into nightmare for scam victims

<p dir="ltr">A Queensland couple who thought they had snapped up the home of their dreams have been left devastated after they lost almost $40,000 to a “cunning” email scammer instead.</p> <p dir="ltr">When Mitch Wilson and Penny Davies received an email from what appeared to be their real estate agent’s email address, they believed they were following their agent’s advice to then transfer the deposit for their house into a bank account.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It plays over and over in my head all of the time,” Ms Davies said.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-05a6e801-7fff-356a-70ce-9f266630bf3e">“We got an email from the real estate agent we had been dealing with, from their email account, saying in light of the contract please pay money to this account,” Mr Wilson told <em>9News</em>.</span></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/08/receipts.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>The couple lost nearly $40,000 after receiving the fraudulent email (left), realising their costly mistake while messaging the actual real estate agent (right). Images: 9News </em></p> <p dir="ltr">After transferring the $39,000 sum, they thought nothing of it until the agent contacted them several days later asking where the funds were.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We went back and forth, we exchanged screenshots and emails from their side and ours, and what was obvious is the money didn’t go where it was supposed to go which was their account,” Mr Wilson said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“(It) ended up in some fraudster‘s account and then offshore to a crypto account.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But, the couple aren’t the only victims of this kind of scam, which police refer to as an email compromise scam. The scammers infiltrate an email account and use it to send emails to victims - making it difficult to identify that they are being scammed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Constance Hall, a mummy blogger, told <em>news.com.au</em> she felt “stupid” after losing thousands of dollars to the scam after she transferred money via a link sent from the real estate agency that managed the rental property she believed she was paying a deposit for.</p> <p dir="ltr">When she contacted the bank, she was told that the chance of recovering the funds was minimal as she had authorised the transaction, and that she should report it to the police.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the end, only $7.57 was recovered.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To have it all stolen in an instant … felt unbelievably unfair,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ian Wells, of Queensland Police’s Cyber Crime Group, told <em>9News</em>: “These people with these skills, they‘re very cunning, they’re very calculated.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Police are advising home buyers to contact the business before paying invoices online to confirm bank account numbers, as the hackers change the bank accounts in invoices sent by business owners before forwarding the altered invoices to unsuspecting customers.</p> <p dir="ltr">Victims are also urged to contact their bank as soon as possible to report the fraudulent transaction.</p> <p dir="ltr">As for businesses impacted by the scams, the Australian Cyber Security Centre advises that they report the incident at <a href="https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/report" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/report</a>, alert other employees and clients, and report the breach to their email service provider. </p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-a0fb48aa-7fff-5878-84fe-9679bf14ac48"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: 9News</em></p>

Real Estate

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Beauty brand praised for “thoughtful” opt-out email

<p dir="ltr">Beauty brand Mecca has received a divisive response after sending out a marketing email giving subscribers the chance to opt out of Father’s Day promotions. </p> <p dir="ltr">The email, which was sent to all members of the Australian site last week, gave those who didn't celebrate Father's Day due to poor relationships or death a chance to opt out of further emails. </p> <p dir="ltr">“An option to opt out,” the email subject read. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Sometimes it's nice to choose which emails you see from us. In the lead up to Father's Day, we understand if you don't want to receive emails on the subject - so we've made it easy to opt out.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thousands of Mecca customers flocked to Facebook to praise the brand's initiative, as many revealed that they had difficult relationships with their fathers.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I'm so glad for this email because I was burnt pretty hard by my dad and I don't need any reminders,” one woman said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Even if it's not a go-to place for Father's Day gifts it's still great to see the initiative! I just hope they do the same for Mother's Day because I also don't have her around and it hurts to see,” she added.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the brand received a lot of praise for the email, others slammed it as a “shameful marketing stunt” and condemned people for being “overly sensitive”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think a lot more thought could have gone into it,” wrote one disgruntled customer. “I understand the sentiment but the specific reference to Father's Day was a bit weird.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I don't remember getting one of these for Mother's Day. Why not a general email with a list of holidays allowing customers to choose which ones they want to opt out of?” she asked.</p> <p dir="ltr">While some people opposed the emails, the reception was largely positive, with customers calling on other brands to do the same. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Supplied</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Woman scammed out of $730,000

<p dir="ltr">A woman has lost an eye-watering $730,000 after opening an email from who she thought was her settlement agent.</p> <p dir="ltr">The victim was in the process of purchasing a property in Western Australia and had clicked on the email which asked for money to be deposited into an account they were in control of.</p> <p dir="ltr">After filling out the “authentic-looking documents”, the scammers were able to take control of $730,000. </p> <p dir="ltr">Consumer Protection WA confirmed that the settlement agent’s email was hacked by the scammers in what is described as payment redirection scams.</p> <p dir="ltr">Payment redirection scams are almost impossible to tell the difference between the real and the fake thing. </p> <p dir="ltr">In this instance, the woman did not think twice that the email would have been a scam after the agent reminded her of the payment. </p> <p dir="ltr">Consumer Protection executive director Trish Blake said the hack is sophisticated and can make it difficult to know when the hacking took place.</p> <p dir="ltr">“These scams usually involve the hacking into someone’s email account or computer system but it can be difficult to determine exactly where the hack has occurred,” she told <a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/online/hacking/woman-loses-730000-after-one-scam-email-while-buying-property/news-story/0eabd0fcc189dc3a0bd7c472f0034150" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news.com.au</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The hackers may have successfully guessed the password or installed spyware or malware on computers or laptops after recipients open attachments or click on links in scam emails.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The losses from these scams can be extremely devastating to the victims who may have lost their home deposit that they have been saving for many years and may not be able to buy the home of their dreams. Or it may be a business doing it tough that can least afford to lose such a large amount of money.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Man rejected from interview through accidental email to management

<p dir="ltr">Alexander Wood was refused an opportunity to be interviewed for a position he applied for thanks to an accidental HR email.</p> <p dir="ltr">This was the third time Alexander applied for a barista position at Utica Coffee Roasting Company in New York. </p> <p dir="ltr">He was interviewed by the company in April 2021 and was offered the role but was unable to accept due to his living circumstances. </p> <p dir="ltr">In December 2021, after reapplying, HR got in touch with Alexander saying they will set up a time for an interview…but no one got back to him.</p> <p dir="ltr">After applying again recently in March 2022, Alexander was rejected from any interview after he was CC’d in an email from HR saying he never showed up last time. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Well, today is the first time I got CC'ed on an email I should not have been,” he wrote on Facebook on March 15. </p> <p dir="ltr">“It was an email an HR employee meant to send to management about how I never showed up for an interview and I was CC'd into their responses.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He explained that he was at an “all-time low in my life, I had just left downstate after being rendered homeless for over a week, I had left my toxic relationship, and I was legally tied to an apartment that I did not feel safe living in.” </p> <p dir="ltr">After sorting out his life, Alexander applied once again, only to randomly check his phone and saw the “triggering email” from the company. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I got hopeful and checked when I could only to find out it was an email meant for the other managers talking about how I never showed up for an interview,” he continued.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sharing a screenshot of the email thread, HR had informed management that Alexander had allegedly not shown up for a previous interview.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Well that’s interesting ok so lets reject him…” management responded. </p> <p dir="ltr">Alexander said he would “never no-call, no-show an interview, especially at that point in my life.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Shocked at their unprofessionalism, Alexander responded with proof of their emails showing that someone from HR would get in contact with him but didn’t. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I am absolutely astonished at the carelessness in this situation. Needless to say, I will not get a job there and will most likely never step foot in the establishment again. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I'm confident in my skills and I hold enough pride not to put up with this kind of absolute garbage. These are the things you don’t do with your business.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Facebook</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Serious claim about Ben Roberts-Smith’s most private emails

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ben Roberts-Smith’s lawyers </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-17/ben-roberts-smith-ex-wife-accesses-email-101-times/100469928" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">have accused</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> his ex-wife Emma Roberts of accessing the veteran’s email more than 100 times, as the case between the former couple continues in court.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The case is running at the same time as his defamation proceedings against several newspapers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During the defamation case, Mr Roberts-Smith’s opponents issued a notice to produce specific documents.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">His legal team suspects the notice may have been issued following access to an email address he used for confidential correspondence.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They have accused Ms Roberts of accessing the account and passing confidential information on to third parties, with Telstra records suggesting a close friend of Ms Roberts may have accessed the account.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Arthur Moses SC, Mr Roberts-Smith’s barrister, applied to add Ms Roberts’ best friend Danielle Scott and her husband as respondents in the case currently being heard in the Federal Court.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Moses claimed that Telstra records established that either Ms Scott or her husband accessed a “hosting account” of RS Group Australia, the company Mr Roberts-Smith owns.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He told the court the account was accessed “on at least 101 occasions” between January 2020 and May 2021.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The RS Group Australia email hosting account … is password-protected and enables a person, once logged on, to access the email account of any RS Group user, including the applicant’s,” Mr Moses said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The accusations come after Mr Roberts-Smith previously swore in an affidavit that neither Ms Scott or her husband had been given the password.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Moses said the Telstra records raised new issues, such as how the couple found the password, whether they had accessed Mr Roberts-Smith’s specific account, or whether they had shared confidential information with other parties.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If Ms Scott and her husband are not joined to these proceedings then the applicant [Mr Roberts-Smith] would have a basis to commence separate proceedings against them,” Mr Moses said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He continued, saying he would have included the pair as respondents when the case began, had his client been aware of the records.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Justice Robert Bronwich reserved his decision.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The defamation trial against the newspapers is currently on hold until at least November 1, and is expected to continue into 2022.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty</span></em></p>

Legal

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Woolies shoppers warn of major $250 voucher scam

<p>Woolworths customers are being warned to avoid a major scam email that can be easy to fall for.</p> <p>The email has made its way into the inboxes of many unsuspecting customers and appears to have the supermarket’s branding to inform customers that they have the opportunity to receive a $250 Woolies gift card for just $1.</p> <p>Customers are told the voucher will be delivered through mail in just three days, as long as a first name, last name, postcode, and credit card details are provided.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7841474/woolies-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5c5ffdb3eb4e43209ae93bfc78741f96" /></p> <p>The phishing scam is just one of the latest that have been dropped into the inboxes of naïve, unsuspecting shoppers.</p> <p>Website criminals use highly sophisticated scams that trick customers into giving out personal information.</p> <p>Woolworths told <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/woolworths-shoppers-warned-over-250-voucher-scam-003535085.html"><em>Yahoo News Australia</em></a> the emails that claim to be offering the $250 voucher is not an authorised message from the supermarket.</p> <p>"As always, we encourage our customers to be vigilant of online and text phishing scams, which seek to imitate well-known brands to collect personal information," a spokesperson said in a statement.</p> <p>"We never ask customers for their personal or banking details in unsolicited communications."</p>

Caring

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Urgent email warning to Aussies over China hackers

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>Australians are being urged to check their emails after a major Chinese infiltration of Microsoft's email system has left many exposed.</p> <p>There are fears that 7,000 servers are impacted by the threat in Australia after the Chinese state-backed hacker group known as HAFNIUM hit more than 30,000 servers in the USA.</p> <p>The campaign led by the hackers found recently discovered flaws in Microsoft Exchange software and stole emails while infecting computer servers with tools that left hackers to take control of the servers remotely.</p> <p>Brian Krebs, a cybersecurity expert, has reported on this massive breach.</p> <p>“At least 30,000 organizations across the United States — including a significant number of small businesses, towns, cities and local governments — have over the past few days been hacked by an unusually aggressive Chinese cyber espionage unit that’s focused on stealing email from victim organisations,” Krebs wrote in the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/03/at-least-30000-u-s-organizations-newly-hacked-via-holes-in-microsofts-email-software/" target="_blank">post</a>.</p> <p>One insider close to the incident explained whose been hit.</p> <p>“It’s police departments, hospitals, tons of city and state governments and credit unions,” said one source who’s working closely with federal officials on the matter.</p> <p>“Just about everyone who’s running self-hosted Outlook Web Access and wasn’t patched as of a few days ago got hit with a zero-day attack.”</p> <p>A zero-day attack is where hackers exploit potentially serious software security that the developer might be unaware of.</p> <p>The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) attributed the attacks with "high confidence" to a "state-sponsored threat actor" based in China which they named Hafnium.</p> <p>Microsoft is urging network owners to download the security patches available as soon as possible.</p> <p>It told customers "the best protection" was "to apply updates as soon as possible across all impacted systems".</p> <p>However, if your Microsoft Exchange servers have already been compromised, the patches are not "full protection against attack". You can find out<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://msrc-blog.microsoft.com/2021/03/05/microsoft-exchange-server-vulnerabilities-mitigations-march-2021/" target="_blank">more information here.</a></p> </div> </div> </div>

Legal

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Leaked emails reveal patient zero for Victoria's second wave disaster

<p><span>Leaked emails have determined who patient zero is in regards to the resurgence of the disastrous second wave of COVID-19.</span><br /><br /><span>It has been revealed that the spread of the deadly infection has been linked back to a night duty manager at the Rydges hotel on Swanston Street - not actually a badly behaved security guard.</span><br /><br /><span>Leaked information shows that the night manager reported on Monday, May 25, that he had come down with a fever.</span><br /><br /><span>The following day Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions officials were told the hotel employee had tested positive.</span><br /><br /><span>It is presumed he caught it from a returned traveller, who has not been identified.</span><br /><br /><span>The emails show a commendable effort was made to stop the spread of the infection, however their efforts were proven futile.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7837356/rydges-3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/2c0bedc41c174b068038e22744c9635f" /><br /><br /><span>Seven security guards who were hired to patrol the hotel were stood down immediately and told to go home, isolate and get tested.</span><br /><br /><span>Another small number of hotel staff and health workers were told to do the same.</span><br /><br /><span>An email headed “Hotel staff member status and exposure to staff” reported on May 26 that the night manager himself was “now isolating at Rydges” and “feeling as well as can be expected”.</span><br /><br /><span>Unfortunately, it was already too late and attempts to curb the spread of the infection failed.</span><br /><br /><span>Five of the original seven guards, all from contractor Unified Security, soon returned positive COVID-19 tests.</span><br /><br /><span>The disease was spread to their families in the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne, which helped seed the second wave that has infected 15,863 Victorians, including 7866 active coronavirus cases as of Thursday.</span><br /><br /><span>As of Thursday, 275 people have died of COVID-19 in the state.</span><br /><br /><span>Officials assumed it was a security guard who had been the first one to contract the disease however as it turns out, it was the night manager.</span><br /><br /><span>There is no suggestion from any party that the hotel manager partook in any improper behaviour.</span><br /><br /><span>Victoria’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos was running the operations of the crisis, however former Health Minister and Attorney General Jill Hennessy has taken charge.</span><br /><br /><span>“The suggestion that security guards ever had responsibility for infection control is one of the biggest myths of this debate,” a source closely involved in the hotel quarantine program told The Age.</span><br /><br /><span>“Private and public hospitals use security guards, but those guards don’t deliver babies, perform surgery or oversee infection control. Full responsibility for infection control lay with the authorised officers who were brought in from various government departments.”</span><br /><br /><span>Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has created a board of inquiry to investigate the shortcomings in the</span><br /><span>hotel quarantine program.</span><br /><br /><span>Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has previously revealed that genomic sequencing carried out by Melbourne’s Doherty Institute shows that most, if not all of Victoria’s second-wave cases, may be traceable back to breaches in hotel quarantine.</span><br /><br /><span>“Clearly there has been a failure in this program,” Professor Sutton said in July.</span></p>

News

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Commonwealth Bank issues urgent warning over phishing scam

<p>Commonwealth Bank has issued an urgent warning telling customers of an email scam that has hit thousands of unsuspecting inboxes across Australia.</p> <p>The scam, which contains the words “CommBank” was detected on November 29 by anti-virus software company Mailguard.</p> <p>Customers have received an email asking them to verify recent transactions on their card.</p> <p> “We encourage our customers to stay vigilant and look out for fraud and scams,” a spokesperson told<a rel="noopener" href="https://7news.com.au/business/banks/commonwealth-bank-issues-urgent-warning-on-new-email-scam-hitting-inboxes-right-now-c-587199" target="_blank"> <em>7NEWS.com.au</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>“We offer our customers the benefit from our 100 per cent guarantee against online fraud where they are not at fault.</p> <p>“Where there is fraudulent activity, our process is to fully reimburse our customers as quickly as possible to minimise inconvenience.”</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7833028/commbank.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/881a4a09c8e34134bef991afd5b851ab" /></p> <p>A blog shared by Mailguard about the phishing scam gave clear signs customers can follow to check if their emails from banks are authentic or not.</p> <p>The blog warned to check for spelling errors, and be aware if it takes you to the actual bank website or not.</p> <p>“This is another reminder for those who utilise online banking, to pay close attention to the emails they receive from their banks,” the post read.</p> <p>“To best protect yourself, it is imperative that you do not click any link contained within an email, especially if it does not address you by name.”</p> <p>Anyone who believes they have been scammed is urged to contact Commonwealth Bank. </p>

Technology

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Warning: The new Telstra scam leaving customers out of pocket

<p>Telstra customers are being advised to keep an eye out for scam that has sent realistic looking fake bills to inboxes across the country.</p> <p>The email is sent under the name “Telstra Team” and has been made to look like an authentic bill from the telecommunications company, containing an account and bill number, multiple links and branding that mimics Telstra’s.</p> <p>Once the links are clicked on, the victims are redirected to a Telstra-branded phishing site that asks for customer’s login details.</p> <p>After entering their username and password, recipients are taken to a second phishing page that looks like a payment form.</p> <p>Any credit card information that is then given through this form is kept by cyber criminals.</p> <p>Email security company MailGuard spoke<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.9news.com.au/technology/telstra-bill-scam-email-phishing-scam-targets-aussie-telco-news-update/6eb9e953-61fa-4f53-99a4-ea4f3c4b2e9d" target="_blank"><em>9News</em></a>, saying the scammers have made sure that their con looks as legitimate as possible.</p> <p>“These include employing high quality graphic elements such as Telstra’s branding in the email,” said MailGuard.</p> <p>“A key feature is the inclusion of the sentence ‘If you have any questions or concerns about this email you can get in touch with us as Telstra.com/contact.”</p> <p>Telstra said customers should “think twice before giving personal details online – instead, contact the sender using their publicly available contact details”.</p>

News

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7 alarming things a hacker can do when they have your email address

<p><strong>1. Send emails from your address</strong></p> <p>This is probably the most obvious thing hackers can do with your email address, and it’s a nuisance for sure. Once hackers have your email address, they can use it to target more than just you, sending out email blasts to anyone (maybe even everyone!) in your contact list. As Garry Brownrigg, CEO &amp; Founder of <a href="https://www.quicksilk.com/">QuickSilk</a>, explains, “They can ‘spoof’ an email message with a forged sender address – they don’t even need your password for this.” The things they send can be anything from harmful malware to scams and requests for money; either way, you’d certainly rather they didn’t come from your address.</p> <p>And although it’s mostly harmless (most savvy internet users are able to catch on when they receive a scam email from a friend’s address), it could still be a problem in some cases. “If a criminal really wanted to hurt someone, they could use this as a way to hook a romantic partner, hack the victim’s employer, get the person in trouble at work, or cause any number of problems in their personal or professional life by impersonating them online,” says Jason Glassberg, co-founder of <a href="https://www.casaba.com/">Casaba Security</a> and former cybersecurity executive at Ernst &amp; Young and Lehman Brothers.</p> <p><strong>2. Send phishing emails</strong></p> <p>Since there isn’t a lot that hackers can do with just the email address, they’re not going to stop there. “When a hacker knows your email address, they have half of your confidential information – all they need now is the password,” warns Greg Kelley of <a href="https://www.vestigeltd.com/">Vestige Digital Investigations</a>. They employ a few different methods to access it, the most common being the phishing email. This is an email, in the guise of being a legitimate email from a trusted source, designed to trick you into logging in. “They might create a legitimate-sounding email that appears to be sent from a service such as Amazon, eBay, Paypal or any number of other popular services… Links in phishing emails will always direct the user to a purposefully built website that looks identical to the real service,” explains Ray Walsh, a digital privacy expert at <a href="https://proprivacy.com/">ProPrivacy.com</a>. “However, if people use the login on that fake website, the hacker instantly receives the credential and password for the real account.”</p> <p>Another way they can do this, ironically, is by sending you an email saying that your account is compromised or has been accessed from a new device, so you need to change your password for security reasons. (You’ve almost definitely had one of those at one point or another!) When you change your password, then your account really is compromised and the hacker has your password. Once hackers have your password, the range of things they can do becomes much greater.</p> <p><strong>3. Access your online accounts</strong></p> <p>Nowadays, our emails do double duty as our logins for scores of social media sites, in addition to Google Docs, online retailers, and so on. Internet users also have a very understandable tendency to use the same passwords for all of these accounts. And even if you don’t use the same password, the hacker can click the old ‘forgot password’ button and use the resulting email – which comes to your email address, which they do have the password for – to change the password, and voilà. Your accounts are their accounts, and they have access to anything on them that you do.</p> <p><strong>4. Access personal information</strong></p> <p>The things hackers can do with your information seem to be something of a chain reaction. Once a hacker has access to your online accounts, just think about all of the information that is right at their fingertips. Allan Buxton, Director of Forensics at SecureForensics, sums it up: “At a minimum, a search on Facebook can get a public name and, unless privacy protections are in place, the names of friends and possibly pictures,” he says. “Throw that email address into LinkedIn, and they’ll know where you work, who your colleagues are, your responsibilities, plus everywhere you worked or went to school. That’s more than enough to start some real-world stalking. That’s just two sites – we haven’t talked about political views, travel or favourite places they might glean from Twitter or Instagram.”</p> <p>Glassberg admits that such ‘real-world stalking’ is rare, sure, but anything is possible in an era where people document nearly everything online.</p> <p><strong>5. Steal financial information</strong></p> <p>Things start to get really problematic if hackers are able to find your credit or debit card information – which, more likely than not, you’ve sent via email at one point or another. Your online bank accounts can also be a major target for hackers, especially if you use your email address as a login for those, too. And, needless to say, once a hacker has access to those, your money is in serious jeopardy. “This is one of the biggest risks you’ll face from an email hack,” Glassberg says. “Once [hackers] have the email, it’s easy to reset the bank account and begin issuing transactions.” In addition to potentially being devastating of your finances, this can also hurt your credit score, as <a href="https://www.beenverified.com/">BeenVerified</a>’s Chief Communications Officer Justin Lavelle explains: “Cybercriminals can use your credit card details, open bank accounts in your name, and take out loans. It will likely ruin your credit card’s rating and your credit report will take a hit.”</p> <p><strong>6. Blackmail you</strong></p> <p>As if things weren’t scary enough, hackers can use your personal info to ruin, or threaten to ruin, your reputation. This is fairly rare, but it can happen, especially if a hacker finds something that the user wouldn’t want to be seen publicly. “[Hackers] can use this access to spy on you and review your most personal emails,” says Daniel Smith, head of security research at <a href="https://www.radware.com/">Radware</a>. “This kind of information could easily be used to blackmail/extort the victim.”</p> <p><strong>7. Steal your identity</strong></p> <p>This is definitely a worst-case scenario, but “once the hacker has your personally identifiable information, they can steal your identity,” Brownrigg warns. With information like your tax file number and credit card info, identity theft can sadly be well within reach for hackers. So, if you start noticing signs someone just stole your identity, consider that your email address may have been compromised.</p> <p><strong>How you can stay safe from hackers</strong></p> <p>Hopefully, though, you won’t have to encounter any of these problems, and there are some measures you can take to keep your information safe. Avoid using your verbatim email address as a login for other sites, and make sure that your password is strong and difficult to guess. You should also change those passwords every couple of months or so for maximum security. Glassberg also recommends securing your email account with two-factor authentication. This “[requires] a one-time code to be entered alongside the password in order to gain access to the email account,” he told RD. “In most cases, the code will be texted to the person’s phone, but there are also apps you can use, like Google Authenticator.”</p> <p>And, of course, just use common sense. Don’t share information or type in your email password on public WiFi networks, and be smart about the information you share over email.</p> <p><strong>What to do if you think you’ve been hacked</strong></p> <p>Starting to notice some strange online activity? There are a couple of ways you can try to get ahead before it gets too bad. If you hear about spam emails being sent from your address, change your password immediately. You should also tell your contacts so that they know to ignore anything coming from you. Finally, Lavelle offers some other suggestions: “Change your email settings to the highest privacy setting, scan your computer for malware and viruses, and be sure your browsers are updated,” he says.</p> <p><em>Written by Meghan Jones. This article first appeared in </em><em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/science-technology/7-alarming-things-a-hacker-can-do-when-they-have-your-email-address">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Woolworths scam: Customers warned of emails offering gift cards

<p>A warning has been issued over a fake Woolworths email claiming to hold a customer survey.</p> <p>The email, which is sent from WoolworthsSurvey, says it is giving out “a limited number of Woolworths Gift Cards”. It includes a link to a purported one-minute survey, which the recipient is asked to complete.</p> <p>Woolworths confirmed the email is a scam and said it has been reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 409.091px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7829471/scam-3-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/42a23b6bd5b845259e3c17bb4804d208" /></p> <p> “Please note, that Woolworths will never email, message, or call you to ask for your personal or financial information including your password, credit card details or account information,” the supermarket giant said on its Scam Alerts page.</p> <p>“Our correspondence will prompt customers to log-in to their Woolworths account if we require you to update your personal information.”</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7829465/scam-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/fee7e3445d41427ba174c56a1a34c391" /><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7829464/scam-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/711fc4cfc4e54ee18a0b8c2355938e12" /></p> <p>In June, the supermarket issued a warning over a fake Facebook page named “Woolworths Fans” which promoted giveaways of “free groceries” in exchange for shares and likes. “We have contacted Facebook to ask for the page to be taken down promptly,” Woolworths told<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/scam-alert-woolworths-warning-over-phishing-scam-facebook-page-offering-free-groceries-102648115.html" target="_blank"><em>Yahoo News Australia</em></a><span> </span>at the time.</p> <p>Monday marks the beginning of this year’s National Scams Awareness Week. ACCC said Australians are expected to lose more than $532 million to scams by the end of 2019, exceeding half a billion dollars for the first time.</p> <p>“Many people are confident they would never fall for a scam but often it’s this sense of confidence that scammers target,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.</p> <p>“Scammers are professional businesses dedicated to ripping us off. They have call centres with convincing scripts, staff training programs, and corporate performance indicators their ‘employees’ need to meet.”</p> <p>Rickard advised being wary of anyone who made a contact out of the blue to solicit personal or banking details. “Remember, anyone could fall victim and no one is ‘too smart to be scammed’. Always ask yourself, ‘could this be a scam?’ and if you’re ever in doubt, decline the contact or hang up the phone – it’s often the safest option.”</p>

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Scam alert: “Large volume of emails” pretending to be from Amazon

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Large volumes of scam emails pretending to be from Amazon have been sent out and flooding inboxes across the country. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Email security company MailGuard have alerted people to the scam by providing images of the scam emails.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Your recent order on AMAZON.COM has been cancelled due to fraudulent activity detected,” the body of the email reads, before providing a link for the victim to click.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Other emails sent by the scammers say that a recent order was unable to be delivered due to a wrong address.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once victims click on the “verify email” button in the message, hackers are able to get your private details.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Once the link is clicked, users are redirected to a page that initially asks them to enter their username and password,” explained MailGuard.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The site presents a message advising the recipient that Microsoft has detected suspicious activity on their computer.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mailguard said that the ultimate goal of the phishing/scare site is to “trick the user into entering their username and password”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Amazon explained to </span><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/technology/amazon-email-scam-large-volume-of-phishing-emails-flooding-inboxes-australia/8639641d-d266-4b6f-a241-7505d67e61dd"><span style="font-weight: 400;">9News</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that they would never send unsolicited emails that ask to provide sensitive personal information.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Go to Your Orders to see if there is an order that matches the details in the email. If it doesn't match an order in Your Account, the message isn't from Amazon,” the company explained.</span></p>

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