It is unfortunate during this time of uncertainty and disruption that scammers are taking advantage of the spread of COVID-19 to exploit and play on the fears of medical professionals and other unsuspecting members of our community.

To help avoid coronavirus scams and subsequent consequences from impacting you or your business, it is essential to familiarise yourself with common scams, such as the following:

  • Emails, text messages and other phishing scams disguised as messages from government and other organisations. These messages include malicious links that download malware, which gives cyber criminals access to your personal data;
  • Third party seller scams on legitimate online retail websites such as Amazon. The scams include products with fake return policies, fraudulent claims or sales of damaged, expired, counterfeit or unsafe products;
  • Fundraising scams by fake charities who solicit donations and purport to be involved in fighting the spread of the coronavirus;
  • People receiving misinformation about the coronavirus being sent by text, social media and email;
  • Investment scams claiming coronavirus has created opportunities;
  • Illegal price gouging on safety or treatment products.

Scammers are known for impersonating organisations such as:

  • World Health Organisation;
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the US CDC);
  • State government Department of Health; and
  • Australian Taxation Office (ATO), including MyGov.

We understand ignoring all communications from all sources is unrealistic. So our top tips for staying safely away from scams are as follows:

  • Do not click on links from sources you do not know. You can usually check the website the link will send you to by hovering over the link;
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from government departments or other organisations. Visit the secure website directly for current information;
  • Keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software as well as your firewall; and
  • Do your research before donating, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Do not let anyone rush or pressure you into making a donation. Particularly be aware of scams asking for gift cards, this will never be an authorised donation site.

Please contact your Pilot advisor on 07 3023 1300 if you have any concerns regarding coronavirus scams impacting your business.  Alternatively, you can visit the ACCC’s Scamwatch or ATO’s Small Business newsroom website for information on current scams.