As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, scammers are cashing in on public fears around contracting the virus. Widespread apprehension, fake news and global supply shortages have created the perfect storm for scammers to exploit the current situation.
Since January 2020, Scamwatch has received more than 11,000 reports of scams and this number is only set to increase as the pandemic continues. From malicious emails to fake medical cures.
To help you know what to look out for, here are some of the most common coronavirus scams currently happening.
Fake emails attempting to impersonate the World Health Organization (WHO) have been circulating. Criminals disguised as WHO officials have been emailing members of the public and asking for personal information like passwords and account details.
The WHO has confirmed that it will never ask for personal information or ask you to visit a link outside of www.who.int.
Phishing text messages
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has warned of phishing text messages which appear to come from “GOV” but are in fact a scam. These texts include a link where recipients can search for nearby testing locations, though this link is malicious and can install harmful software on your device if clicked on.
The government has recently confirmed that eligible Australians will be able to gain early access to their super if they’re struggling financially during the crisis. Since the announcement, there have been reports of scammers cold-calling and sending unsolicited emails and text messages about early super access.
Remember, the ATO and your superfund will never call you unexpectedly about accessing your super early. If you receive one of these calls or messages, don’t provide any personal details or click on any links claiming to take you to myGov or similar.
Fake vaccinations or medical cures
There is no known cure for coronavirus at present. Current treatments are based on the type of care given for influenza and other respiratory illnesses. With this in mind, be wary of websites or emails offering vaccines, pills or medication claiming to treat or cure the disease – these are almost entirely fake.
There’s no need to fear becoming a scam victim provided you take steps to protect yourself online. Don’t open attachments or emails from suspicious senders, ensure your computer software is up to date and always check for a valid ABN before purchasing from an online business.
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Fair Go Finance is committed to protecting our customers and keeping their details safe and secure.
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