Scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by exploiting and playing on the fears of consumers and small businesses across Australia, warns the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The ACCC’s Scamwatch has received multiple reports of phishing scams sent via email or text message impersonating the World Health Organization, government authorities, and legitimate businesses, including travel agents and telecommunications companies.
Other scams include falsely selling coronavirus-related products online, using fake emails or text messages to try and obtain personal data, and investment scams claiming coronavirus has created financial opportunities.
With more consumers and businesses using online platforms the ACCC says it is important to take steps to protect you and your business from scams. These can include:
- never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for personal or financial details
- keep your computer’s anti-virus and anti-spyware software up-to-date, use a good firewall, and only buy computer and anti-virus software from a reputable source
- back-up important data such as customer details and financial information using an external USB or cloud storage service
- use strong and unique passphrases, not passwords
- ensure your staff are trained and aware of potential threats.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre provides further guidance for small business at the ACSC website.