Covid 19 Scam Warning

Covid 19 Scam Warning

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Published on:

March 23, 2020

Covid 19 Scam Warning

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classified the Coronavirus as a global pandemic on Thursday March 12, 2020. Potential school and business closures means many people will be working and shopping from home.

Unfortunately, cyber-criminals and scammers are taking advantage of people's fear and uncertainty to try and obtain sensitive personal information, steal money or compromise devices.

IDCARE is aware of scams pretending to be from organisations such as World Health Organisation (WHO), the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Australian federal and state health departments and medical bodies that may try to trick people into:

  • clicking on malicious links or open a malicious attachment
  • entering sensitive personal information such as usernames or passwords
  • donating money to fake fundraising campaigns or provide bank account/credit card details
  • stoking fear and division in communities

Scammers are using techniques such as ‘phishing’ emails or text messages claiming to have important information regarding the latest coronavirus updates, local testing stations, potential cures, cheap medical products or important work from home information.

These messages try to persuade you to click open a link and re-enter your username and password or download a seemingly innocent attachment that contains malware.

Services Australia will never ask you to click on a link in a text message, download software or upload documents.

The scammers are preying on people’s fear, uncertainty and doubt on social media, particularly Facebook, then deceiving people again to click on malicious sites, enter credentials or donate money to fraudulent fundraising efforts.

As many organisations have staff starting to work from home there is now increased risk of scammers attempting what are called remote access scams.

This involves scammers calling people and pretending to be from telco companies, NBN or tech support. They often sound convincing and authoritative and will try to convince you there are internet problems that have been reported. You will be requested to download software, often Team Viewer,to allow them to fix the problem, and told any text or emails you receive during this process will be part of the testing procedure. Credit card details may also be requested.

This could lead to malware being installed on your computer, work files being stolen and access to your work and/or personal information being compromised.

 

How to protect yourself:
  • Stop and check before you click. Check the URL and sender address. If in doubt log into the website rather than click or open an attachment.
  • Avoid clicking on pop-up advertisements on your social media pages and mobile games.
  • Only buy online groceries from reputable supermarkets and online sellers.
  • Check the URL of websites you visit and look for little padlock symbol.
  • Never provide your credit card or bank account details via email.
  • Update your passwords and try to have different passwords across your accounts. A password manager can help with this.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited phone calls about your computer asking for remote access. Hang up and call back on a number from the legitimate website to confirm.
  • If you think you have been compromised contact IDCARE and report the scam to Scamwatch.

 

Below are links for further information:

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