New coronavirus scams are currently circulating, using fear and uncertainty to separate Australians from their hard-earned dollars. Picture- Nicole Cleary
New coronavirus scams are currently circulating, using fear and uncertainty to separate Australians from their hard-earned dollars. Picture- Nicole Cleary

7 coronavirus scams to watch out for

AUSTRALIANS take great pride in our ability to band together during a crisis and help each other out.

Sadly, there are exceptions to the rule and numerous opportunists are attempting to cash in on the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Using widespread fear and uncertainty to their advantage, cyber-criminals are impersonating doctors, health professionals and even the Federal Government to obtain personal data from the community.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned of fake treatments and cures, and money-grabbing emails, texts and phone calls that may land an unsuspecting person in some financial trouble.

Other scams include people receiving misinformation about cures for coronavirus and investment scams claiming coronavirus has created opportunities to make money.

"There is no known vaccine or cure for coronavirus and a vaccine isn't expected to be available for 18 months. Do not buy any products that claim to prevent or cure you of COVID-19. They simply don't exist," said ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.

"Understandably, people want information on the pandemic, but they should be wary of emails or text messages claiming to be from experts."

Here are seven scams to watch out for:

1. Service Australia phishing email

A phishing email about a 'subsidy benefit' is being emailed to people, claiming to be from the Department of Human Services (DHS). The email asks you to reply with personal and financial details to confirm your eligibility.

Scamwatch took to social media to warn targeted Aussies to delete the email immediately.

2. COVID-19 Netflix phishing scam

Netflix is not offering free streaming for three months and anyone who receives this email should not to click on the link. If you see this email, just delete it.

 

Scamwatch has taken to twitter to warn Aussies of a Netflix scam, luring people in with a free 3 month subscription. Picture: Twitter.
Scamwatch has taken to twitter to warn Aussies of a Netflix scam, luring people in with a free 3 month subscription. Picture: Twitter.

3. Online shopping scams

Due to self-isolation, more people may fall victim to classic online shopping scams.

Scammers use the latest technology to set up fake retailer websites that look like genuine online retail stores, with some even setting up social media pages to feign legitimacy.

The payment method is the giveaway. These faux retailers will ask you to pay using a money order, pre-loaded money card, or wire transfer.

4. Scammers impersonating Coles and Woolworths

If a $250 shopping voucher from Coles or Woolworths lands in your inbox, do not click the link and do not share. If it looks too good to be true, it usually is.

 

Scammers have been posing as supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths, offering a $250 shopping voucher. Picture: Twitter
Scammers have been posing as supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths, offering a $250 shopping voucher. Picture: Twitter

5. Remote access scams

Watch out for scammers using COVID-19 to claim that Microsoft has closed and is outsourcing tech support. These crooked callers will try to convince you that your computer has a virus and to give them remote access to your device.

6. Government impersonators

If a government message pops up on your phone offering information about COVID-19, approach with caution. One message has been doing the rounds, tricking people into installing data that will steal their banking credentials.

7. Banking and superannuation scams

If a message claiming to be from your bank asks you to update or verify your details, ignore it. Keep your assets safe by calling your bank instead.

Scammers are also trying to use coronavirus to scare Aussies into giving up their super account details.

For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the Australian Government's Department of Health and the World Health Organisation websites directly.