House of Assembly: Thursday, March 23, 2023



Ms HUTCHESSON (Waite) (15:34): It is a beautiful day outside today, a perfect day to go fishing actually, but that is fishing with an 'f' and not a 'ph'. I am angry, I am disappointed and outright disgusted that we have human beings who get up on a beautiful morning, as it was today, get ready to go to work and know their job is to exploit the vulnerabilities of members of our community and steal their hard-earned money, often limited.

What am I referring to? Scammers. A few weeks back my father received an email from what he thought was Norton security. The gist of the email was that he was about to be charged $499.99 to renew his Norton security service. My father, as some here know, is not a well man, and even though he would ordinarily see straight through an email like this, he was caught off guard.

Worried that this company was going to take $500 out of his account, he did not see the warning signs. The email said, 'If you don't want this deduction to occur in the next few days then call this number.' My mum was not there at the time, and he called the number. The operator on the other end told him to enter a particular website into his browser that would bring up a cancellation form.

During the conversation, my mum got home. She was suspicious but the operator was very convincing: 'Fill in this form and it will cancel the debit.' Meanwhile, he had gained access to their computer. Sadly, through the conversation he gained access to their internet banking and was away. Surprisingly, he kept calling them back. 'Don't worry, everything is okay, just don't check your internet banking,' he said. My mum smelled a rat and called the bank almost immediately but the damage was done—not to their account, as the bank managed to freeze the transfers, but to their confidence.

Having always managed the finances, my mum was now scared to even go near internet banking. Our family gathered around and assisted to sort out what had happened, and I thank the ANZ for its assistance with this, but it goes to a much broader issue. Almost every day I receive a phishing email. In fact, to me every email is a scam unless proven otherwise. In the last few days, I have received the following emails. One was from 'Auto notice' from myGov advising me that I had a secure email message from myGov and that I should 'click here' to read it. It was from the ATO account team. I know I should log into my myGov app to check that I indeed have a message, but not everyone is as suspicious as me.

The second one was from MetaMask. I do not even know who MetaMask is, but the subject was 'Know Your Customer regulation'. It said that their system had flagged my MetaMask account. Who knows what that is? It was non-verified and said that due to the recent KYC regulations they would be unable to continue providing services from 1 May and I should start my KYC verification by 'clicking this link'.

If you do not know what KYC (Know Your Customer) is, it basically gives 100 points of ID to the person who is asking for it. This is one of their tactics to create a sense of urgency. In the case of my dad, they said a deduction could happen in the next few days, so he panicked. I reached out to my community to hear their horror stories. One had received a text saying, 'Morning, hope you're having a good start to your day, mum. I got a new number after getting a new phone. WhatsApp message me on 04-blah-blah so that I can save your contact.' This plays on the hearts and concerns of parents.

There was one that said, 'Having trouble with your shipping address, click here.' There was one from PayPal stating that there was some activity on the account and to 'click here to log into PayPal', of course capturing your log-in details when you did. Another parent got a text saying that their child had been involved in an accident and was stranded and to send money with Visa details as their phone was broken in the accident.

Again, to some of us these all set off the warning bells but to others it catches them. I ask everyone to always assume that it is a scam, to always Google the address of the company asking you to update your details rather than clicking on any links. Check that the email is from the company in question, or call to confirm. Google phone numbers; often they have already been reported. Know your kids and the way they usually communicate with you, and have a password for things like changing numbers.

Further, check on your parents and grandparents. Conduct a cyber safety check with them. As they get older, they are not as savvy and they can be caught off guard. Do not, like me, think that they are okay. If they are, then that is great, but if they are not, then you may just save them thousands of dollars. Also, talk to your kids who are just starting out with internet banking and emails. If we all check on each other then we can cut these vile humans off at the pass. To those who seek to do this kind of work, or crime, I hope that you can live with yourselves at the end of the day.

Just quickly, on a brighter note—I have a few seconds—I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Banana Boogie Bakery on making the best and second-best hot cross buns in the country and the best vanilla slice in the state. If you have the time, I encourage you to head up to Belair and see for yourselves. Not only are they the best baked goods, but they have the best staff. Vanilla slice, best one in the state according to The Advertiser,and we know that they know everything.