Scammers are now calling people who have had their flights cancelled and pretending to be the airline. The scammer may ask for your bank account details to issue you’re a ‘refund’, but be very wary of any phone call that comes out of the blue from a supposed ‘airline’. Most airlines are offering credits, not refunds. Never give out personal information over the phone or email.
Now that many people in Australia are now working from home, scammers are sending fake ‘work-from-home guides’ emails to workers which are actually malware that will be installed on your computer if you open or download it. This malware can then copy and send your personal information from the computer to the scammers, who will then use it for personal gain or criminal activity. Only open emails and download attachments from trusted sources.
Emails from international health organisations or superannuation accounts
Scammers are also impersonating international health and disease control organisations and financial institutions and requesting personal information. Never respond to an email requesting your personal information, bank details or usernames and passwords. When in doubt, contact the organisation yourself to check authenticity.
The ACCC’s Scamwatch website also reports that they have received reports of other types of coronavirus-related scams, such as phishing emails and phone calls impersonating the World Health Organisation, government authorities, people confirmed to have the coronavirus, and legitimate businesses such as travel agents and telecommunications companies. Scammers are also being sent misinformation about the coronavirus via text, social media and email. Other reports also document that scammers are selling products claiming to be a vaccine or cure for the coronavirus, or selling investment scams claiming coronavirus has created opportunities.
How to protect yourself from being scammed
- Be aware of fraudulent emails, phone calls, text messages
- Be careful when shopping online and only use reputable websites and payment methods
- Don’t click on links, email attachments downloads or other online portals that you don’t know, recognise or trust
- Never respond to unsolicited emails, phone calls or messages requesting personal information
- Always keep your computer and device anti-virus software up to date