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27 March 2020
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is aware of a significant increase in Australians being targeted with COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails.
In the last three months, the ACSC and the Australian Competition and the Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch has received over 140 reports from individuals and businesses across Australia.
These phishing emails are often sophisticated, preying on people’s desire for information and imitating trusted and well-known organisations or government agencies.
Clicking on these malicious links or visiting fake websites may automatically install computer viruses or malware and ransomware onto your device, giving cyber criminals the ability to steal your financial and personal information.
These scams are likely to increase over the coming weeks and months and the ACSC strongly encourages organisations and individuals to remain alert.
How do I stay safe?
The ACSC has produced a detailed report, including practical cyber security advice that organisations and individuals can follow to reduce the risk of harm.
You can read the report and protect yourself by following these simple steps:
• Read the message carefully, and look for anything that isn’t quite right, such as tracking numbers, names, attachment names, sender, message subject and hyperlinks.
• If unsure, call the organisation on their official number, as it appears on their website and double check the details or confirm that the request is legitimate. Do not contact the phone number or email address contained in the message, as this most likely belongs to the scammer.
• Use sources such as the organisation's mobile phone app, web site or social media page to verify the message. Often large organisations, like Australia Post, will have scam alert pages on their websites, with details of current known scams using their branding, to watch out for.
If you’ve received one of these messages and you’ve clicked on the link, or you’re concerned your personal details have been compromised, contact your financial institution immediately.
If you’ve suffered financial loss from cybercrime, report it to ReportCyber at www.cyber.gov.au/report.
Visit cyber.gov.au for advice to help businesses stay secure from cyber threats, whilst managing a remote workforce.
To stay up to date on the latest online threats and how to respond, sign up to the Stay Smart Online Alert Service, www.staysmartonline.gov.au/alert-service.
More advice and support is available on our Get help page.
For information on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit https://www.health.gov.au
© 2020 Australian Government.