Like many other businesses, Genworth may be the target of consumer security attacks or become the victim of the unauthorised use of our name and logo as part of a consumer fraud or identity theft crime. Additional safeguard information relating to methods of identity theft, other consumer frauds and identity theft help can be found below.
Methods of identity theft
The growing popularity and reliance on the internet for financial transactions and other dealings has led to a related increase in online theft and fraud. Some criminals are out to steal your money; others are out to steal your identity.
Identity theft: capturing and misusing another's personal information
Identify theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal information to commit a crime. The fraud typically involves trying to open new accounts using the victim's identity (which can wreak havoc on the victim's credit), or misappropriating the victim's existing accounts.
Some frauds use elaborate hoaxes with counterfeit cheques from real companies. Others entail rummaging through your trash looking for discarded statements from your bank. No matter the technique, they're all looking for valuable information about you: tax file numbers, medicare numbers, driver's license numbers, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers. Whether it's identity theft, or old-fashioned robbery, stay on your guard.
Fraudulent techniques used to steal your personal information
Pharming - a criminal 'pharms' for your information by redirecting you to a sham web site without your knowledge or consent. The sham web site may look like the actual site you had intended to visit -- and likely will include legitimate company logos and trademarks. By duping you into believing the sham is legitimate, the aim is to get you to provide your confidential personal information such as account numbers and passwords.
Phishing - someone 'phishes' for your information by sending emails designed to appear as if they come from a legitimate source. They often will include company logos and trademarks as bait to lure the recipient into believing the email is legitimate. The email may even contain a link to a spoof copy of the legitimate website. Email recipients are asked to 'update' personal information such as account numbers and passwords.
Skimming - 'skimmers' are electronic devices that capture personal or account information from your credit card, driver's license, or even a passport. If your card is swiped through a skimmer, the information contained on your card's magnetic strip is stored on the skimmer or an attached computer. Pay close attention to retail clerks who may have skimmers in addition to a legitimate machine by which your legitimate transaction is recorded.
Shoulder surfing - this is often as simple as looking over someone's shoulder at automated teller machines, cybercafés, airport kiosks, etc., but shoulder surfing also can be done from a distance using binoculars or high-tech gadgetry. Miniature closed-circuit television cameras can be (and have been) concealed in ceilings, walls or fixtures to capture data entry.
Spyware, malware and computer viruses - these are computer programs loaded on to your computer, generally through the Internet and without your knowledge or consent. Some programs impair the performance of your computer; while others collect data that you type such as passwords, account numbers, etc. One of the most effective ways to prevent malware is to keep your computer protected with the latest patch updates and anti-virus software
Dumpster diving - this describes people rummaging through your trash to find unshredded information like credit card offers, old bills and bank statements.
Other consumer frauds
Consumer frauds and thefts remain a serious concern that require you to be vigilant in protecting your personal information, very demanding before you will share that information with any third party and extremely careful before providing any funds to a merchant or 'contest' sponsor - online or off.
Lottery and sweepstakes scams - criminals mail so-called 'official' notices declaring that you have won a lottery or sweepstakes. The mailing includes a cheque with the name of a legitimate business, but the cheque is counterfeit. The recipient is instructed to deposit the counterfeit cheque and deliver the proceeds to pay taxes or other expenses to redeem the prize. After the criminal has the money, the counterfeit cheque is discovered to be a fraud and the victim loses the money. For example, if you receive a cheque that looks like it is from Genworth in connection with a 'lottery', that cheque is counterfeit and part of this type of fraudulent scheme.
Mail fraud (advance-fee frauds) - similar to the lottery and sweepstakes scams, fake notices are mailed from other countries (oftentimes purporting to come from foreign officials) saying they have millions of dollars they would like to deposit into your bank account - if you first provide them with bank account numbers, advance fees, etc.
Newspaper ad scams ('Fix Your Credit') - here, the fraud typically involves the use of small-circulation newspapers to publish fake classified ads (often stealing the name of a legitimate business) offering low interest rates or to repair credit. People who respond to the ads are asked to pay an advance fee or provide their personal information. For example, if you see a classified ad that says someone from Genworth will help 'fix your credit', that is part of a scam. Do not respond to the ad (but do get in touch with us so we can help end the scam). We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1300 655 422.
Inheritance scams - criminals notify you, generally by mail, that you are the beneficiary of a will or have received an inheritance from a stranger. This is a type of advance-fee fraud similar to the lottery and sweepstakes scams. If you receive an 'inheritance' cheque that says it is from Genworth, that cheque is counterfeit and part of a scam.
Plain old theft - crooks steal purses and wallets with credit cards; they steal cheque books; they steal mail and look for account numbers, letters offering pre-approved credit, and anything else of value.
You can visit the Australian Minister for Justice and Customs website to get more information about protecting your identity and assets.
To report a scam that you believe might misuse the name, assets or intellectual property of Genworth Financial, please email us at email@example.com or call us at 1300 655 422.
To report any other scam, or to get more information, you can visit the following web sites for agencies of the Australian government:
- Attorney General's Department
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
- ASIC MoneySmart
- ACCC Scamwatch