20 March 2020

Be alert to coronavirus scams and report them immediately

As Australians come together to fight the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, unfortunately there are some who will seek to prey on community’s anxiety at this time.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s ‘Scamwatch’ has been made aware that scammers are adapting existing technology to exploit people’s fears around coronavirus and are selling products claiming to prevent or cure the virus.

Multiple reports have been made 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.

There is understandable community concern over the spread of coronavirus, but it is the lowest of the low for scammers to use this as a vehicle to rip off Australians.

The Australian Government will use the full force of the law to punish scammers who seek to make false or misleading representations, and penalties can include fines of up to $500,000 for individuals and in excess of $10 million for corporations.

Australians who are seeking information on coronavirus should also be cautious of emails or text messages claiming to be from experts or offers from those peddling cures.

For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, get your advice from a trusted source. Visit the Department of Health website or call the 24/7 National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

If you believe you have been scammed, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

For more information or to report a coronavirus scam visit the ACCC’s Scamwatch website.