23 Mar 2020
Warning: Coronavirus Online Scams
As we come to terms with the changes that need to be made to our day to day activities as a result of the Coronavirus, ACCC’s Scamwatch has issued a warning about new scams designed to take advantage of people's fear and anxiety.
Scamwatch has received 94 reports of scams about Coronavirus which have appeared since the beginning of this year and is expecting that figure to climb.
Various reports to Scamwatch include online shopping scams involving scammers pretending to be legitimate online stores, selling products such as face masks and not delivering the goods.
Scamwatch has received multiple reports of phishing scams sent via email or text message that claim to be providing official information on Coronavirus but are attempts to try and obtain personal data. Other scams include people receiving misinformation about cures for Coronavirus and investment scams claiming Coronavirus has created opportunities to make money.
“...Do not buy any products that claim to prevent or cure you of COVID-19. They simply don’t exist”, ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
Scammers have also been known to try and impersonate official government and health organisations.
Scamwatch is issuing Tweet warnings to Australians and asking people to be vigilant of any suspicious texts claiming to be from the government or financial institution. For the latest information about the coronavirus, visit the Department of Health and the World Health Organization websites directly.
Be alert and protect yourself from being scammed by following these tips from Scamwatch:
- Be aware of fraudulent emails claiming to be from experts saying that they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the Department of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Be careful of fake online shopping sites requesting unusual payment methods such as upfront payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, preloaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin. Information is available at:
Online shopping scams.
- The best way to detect a fake trader or social media online shopping scam is to search for reviews before purchasing. No vaccine or cure presently exists for the coronavirus.
- Don’t let anyone pressure you to make quick decisions. Take your time and consider who you are dealing with.
- Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.
- Don’t open attachments or click on links in emails, text messages or social media messages you’ve received from strangers — just press delete.
- Never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for personal or financial details — just press delete or hang up.
- Always keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall. Only buy computer and anti-virus software from a reputable source.
- If you are planning to donate, do your research. If you are donating to crowdfunding requests, check the terms and conditions of funding platforms and ensure you are dealing with official organisations.
- If you are donating to an established charity or not-for-profit organisation, ensure it is registered and that you are on its official website by searching the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register.
- Stay up to date with latest consumer advice relating to COVID-19 (coronavirus) on the ACCC website at: www.accc.gov.au/covid-19.
If you are concerned about a suspicious link or online activity, go to Report a scam on the Scamwatch website.
* Source https://www.scamwatch.gov.au
PSK Financial Services Group Pty Ltd (ABN 24 134 987 205) are Authorised Representatives of Charter Financial Planning Ltd (AFSL 234666), Australian Financial services Licensee and Australian Credit Licensee. Information contained in this article is general in nature. It does not take into account your objectives, needs or financial situation. You need to consider your financial situation before making any decisions based on this information.