Federal Police probe scam COVIDSafe app messages as downloads soar

Federal Police are investigating a series of hoax messages supposedly linked to the COVIDSafe app, warning people they’ve breached lockdown restrictions.

People have been receiving texts telling them they’ve been detected travelling too far from home, even though the app doesn’t track a person’s location.

The message urges people to click on a number to contact authorities and explain themselves.


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But the messages are a scam.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has described it as “deeply un-Australian.”

“Any misuse of telecommunications for a hoax is illegal. This case has already been referred to the Federal Police for investigation, and that investigation has begun, and anybody who is found responsible will be charged with a significant criminal offence,” Mr Hunt said.

“When Australians have been doing difficult things, to have a few people, or it may just be one person, who are doing something contrary to the public health messages, this isn’t a game. This is about life and death.”

It comes as 2.4 million Australians download the app since it was released on Sunday night.

The uptake has far exceeded expectations, pleasing health officials.

“Australians have embraced their part in actions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, firstly through the very difficult measures of physical isolation and social distancing,” Mr Hunt said.

“Secondly, though, they have embraced and responded with uploading and registering the app at probably 10 times the speed that we had expected. Where we are at now was where we had hoped to be in 10 days’ time.”

 

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[…] already there have been problems. Federal police have been called in to investigate a text message that some users have received when they are more than 20km from home. The message says they […]

[…] addition to the scrutiny from Australians, Federal Police are investigating a series of hoax messages supposedly linked to the COVIDSafe app, warning people they’ve breached lockdown […]