Honestly – that is the kind of message anyone of us would hate to get. The current state of fear around COVID-19 is certainly well beyond fever pitch in Australia.
Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of the situation to fleece people of both money and sensitive information. A government report recently showed that in Australia alone, over 3600 people have lost more than $2.3 million to scammers, and the numbers are continuously growing!
So how are they doing it? Scammers are sending text messages via SMS and via emails impersonating the Australian Government to unsuspecting people who click on a dangerous link.
We’ve seen two different type of scenarios:
- The first one informs the recipients that they’ve come in contact with someone who has been confirmed as COVID-19 positive, and requests for them to go on a specific website. Once on that website, they are asked further personal information including credit card details that will supposedly be used for “testing purposes”. That’s where people who fall for it, lose their money!
- A second variation of the scam is where people receive a text message indicating that they are entitled to COVID-19 support payments or some form of tax reimbursement. Once again, when recipients reach the website they’re asked to enter private information such as credit card or bank account details.
Another variation specifically targets the early release of superannuation funds that the government has allowed, which sees the money released into the scammers bank account instead of yours.
From an email scam perspective, the process works basically like a data mining exercise where the scammers are grabbing information from their victims to use either right now or in the future.
So how can you protect yourself from these scams?
- Never respond to emails/texts/phone calls that you did not initiate yourself or coming from unknown contacts. Just delete the email or hang up. If you are uncertain, then contact the specific government agency directly from your own web browser or from the phone number provided on their official website, DO NOT use the phone number present in the scams.
- Never give a third party access to your computer. At Correct Solutions, when our teams need to remote access your computer, we will most probably already have our software installed on it and we will have gained your permission verbally prior to connecting to it. If ever in doubt, call us back on our registered number (1300 267 765) and ask to talk to the technician team as verification.
- Educate yourself, your team, your friends and family about the dangers of these scams and the way you can prevent them from impacting you.
Be watchful, be suspicious, and if in doubt certainly contact us for guidance.