Morgan Stanley
  • Research
  • September 12, 2022

Protect Yourself Online

Scams are getting more sophisticated. Take some simple steps to protect yourself.

Unfortunately scams are increasing in frequency and sophistication. Below are some simple steps you can take to reduce your vulnerability to the most common attacks. 

Know who you’re interacting with

More than anything else, before you engage with someone in a meaningful way, you should be sure you know who they are. If you have received an unsolicited communication from someone you don’t know personally, you should be careful about the information you provide that person. This also applies to websites and social media platforms – be very careful about the personal information you provide in any of these forums. 

You should be even more careful regarding investment recommendations you receive or any time any person is asking you to transfer money. 

Do initial research

Many of the most successful scams rely on gaining the confidence of consumers by fraudulently impersonating well-known brands and organisations. The organisations used are quite varied – banks and financial institutions, couriers, retailers, even government departments have been impersonated. Some of these impersonations look authentic and can be very convincing.

Some things to remember:

  • If you have an existing relationship with the organisation, speak to someone you’ve dealt with in the past.
  • Don’t use contact details that have been provided by an unknown source.
  • Always obtain the correct contact details from a reputable source and use them to verify any unsolicited information you have been sent.
  • If you don’t have an existing relationship with the organisation, you should remain vigilant. Find their website through a search engine and never use a website address that has been sent to you from an unknown source.

Take your time

Never rush into anything that could have a significant financial impact. Think about what you’re being asked and speak to someone you trust prior to taking action. If the person who has contacted you is pressuring you to make a quick decision, and to transfer funds, think carefully about why they are doing that. 

It’s ok to be sceptical, to ask questions and to verify who you are talking to. A representative of a legitimate organisation should not be offended by your questioning or be frustrated by you being extra careful.

Use the ASIC website

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is the government body responsible for enforcing laws to protect Australian consumers and investors. It maintains a comprehensive consumer site called MoneySmart which provides valuable information regarding scams and various forms of fraud. 

On the MoneySmart website you will find general advice on staying safe along with very specific information regarding the latest scams that the regulator has become aware of. If you’re unsure of something you’ve been told or sent, start by searching for it on the ASIC MoneySmart website. 

Additional advice

It’s rare for large, reputable investment organisations to solicit investments online. Morgan Stanley never sends unsolicited investment offers to prospects, doesn’t use messaging apps and doesn’t conduct business on social media.  

It’s generally against the law to recommend an investment to a retail client without knowing their personal circumstances. If you receive an investment offer before first having a detailed conversation with a financial adviser, the offer is quite likely fraudulent.  

Stay in charge

It’s important to take responsibility for your own security. Reputable organisations invest significant sums into safeguarding your assets but those efforts don’t protect you if you enter into a transaction voluntarily or transfer money to someone you shouldn’t. 

Be very careful about the links you click on, the sites you visit and the personal information you provide. If you have doubts, don’t proceed until you are certain you are dealing with a legitimate party.

If you have any concerns about a communication you have received, please speak to your financial adviser or call Morgan Stanley. 

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