Scammers play on people's fears

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9th April, 2020:

Scammers are adapting existing technology to play on people’s fears around coronavirus and selling products claiming to prevent, or cure the virus.

There has been multiple reports of phishing scams sent via email or text message that claim to be providing official information on coronavirus but are attempts to try and obtain personal data.

“Unfortunately scammers are taking advantage of the uncertainty around COVID-19, to prey on people,” SWC Chief Executive Officer David Brown said.

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

“There is a wide variety of scams circulating at the moment, including fake online stores selling products claiming to be a vaccine or cure for coronavirus, and stores selling products such as face masks and not providing the goods.”

“There is no known vaccine or cure for coronavirus and a vaccine isn’t expected to be available for some time. Do not buy any products that claim to prevent or cure you of COVID-19. They simply don’t exist.”

“Scammers are impersonating official organisations such as the World Health Organization and the Department of Health or legitimate businesses such as telecommunications companies and travel agencies,” Mr Brown said.

“Understandably, people want information on the pandemic, but they should be wary of emails or text messages 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 websites directly.”

If you think you have been scammed, contact your financial institution immediately.

Remember banks will never contact you asking for your personal or banking information. If you receive any communication from a bank be wary and contact them directly on their publicly listed number (not from the email or SMS your received) to confirm it is genuine communication.


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