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Tips to avoid COVID-19 scams

COVID-19 has led to a spike in the number of scams being perpetrated online. Whether it’s trying to sell products to cure the virus, or pretending to be from government agencies ‘phishing’ for your information, scammers are capitalising on the fallout from the pandemic.

Here are four recent examples targeting Australians.

1. Superannuation early-access scams – Offering to help you access the money in your superannuation or checking whether your superannuation account is eligible for various benefits or deals.

2. Phishing emails impersonating Australia Post – Arriving amidst a surge in deliveries due to increased online shopping. Examples include messages such as “unfortunately we have not been able to deliver your package” and prompt people to click on a link that directs you to a fake Australia Post website asking for personal and banking information.

3. SMS phishing scam messages offering COVID-19 advice – In these examples the SMS appears to come from ‘GOV’ or ‘GMAIL’, with a malicious link to find out where to get tested in your local area.

4. Phishing emails containing malicious attachments – Often prompt you to open an attachment for advice on safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When opened, the attached file contains malicious software that automatically downloads onto your device, providing the scammer with ongoing access.

Tips to protect yourself from these types of scams:

  • Read the message carefully, and look for anything that isn’t quite right, such as spelling, the ‘from’ email address, tracking numbers, logos, and message subject.
  • Never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for personal or financial details including superannuation.
  • Use sources such as the organisation’s mobile phone app, website, or social media page to verify the message. Or call them directly using the official contact details listed on a past bill or online search.

For more information see the Government’s Scamwatch website: www.scamwatch.gov.au

 

Sources: 1. https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams/current-covid-19-coronavirus-scams https://www.cyber.gov.au/ https://ia.acs.org.au/

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