ALERT: Aussies warned to beware of COVID-19 themed scams

Australians are being urged to be on the lookout for convincing COVID-19 themed scams currently doing the rounds.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)’s Scamwatch issued a warning on Wednesday, revealing scammers are “falsely selling coronavirus-related products online, and using fake emails, phone calls or text messages to try and obtain personal data”.

Scams reported to the ACCC include:


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  • Phishing emails and phone calls impersonating entities. These include the World Health Organisation, government authorities, people confirmed to have the coronavirus, and legitimate businesses such as travel agents and telecommunications companies
  • People receiving misinformation about the coronavirus, being sent by text, social media and email
  • Products claiming to be a vaccine or cure for the coronavirus
  • Investment scams claiming coronavirus has created opportunities.

Gold Coast Health shared a warning on its Facebook page of one of the fake COVID-19 themed text scams.

FAKE TEXT ALERT – There's a COVID-19 themed scam doing the rounds via text message. Don't be fooled. It appears to…

Posted by Gold Coast Health on Wednesday, 18 March 2020

The ACCC have provided some simple steps to avoid getting scammed:

  • Be aware of fraudulent emails claiming to be from experts. 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 and search for reviews before purchasing. No vaccine or cure presently exists for the coronavirus.
  • 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.
  • If you are planning to donate, do your research. 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.

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