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COVID-19 scams

Learn about the scams by fraudsters posing as trusted and well-known organisations or government agencies.

A man at a dinner table, typing on his computer. There is a bowl and a glass of water beside him

There has been a significant increase in Australians being targeted with COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails.

These phishing emails are sophisticated and are targeting people’s need for information during this crisis and imitating trusted and well-known organisations or government agencies.

Clicking on these malicious links or visiting fake websites may install computer viruses, malware or ransomware onto your device. This gives the scammers an opportunity to steal your personal and financial information.

Please, if in doubt, do not click a link.

See the current scams going around below and report a scam to ScamWatch if you think you’ve received one.

Coronavirus SMS scams

There’s COVID-19 (coronavirus) text message scams going around.

One SMS appears to come from ‘GOV’ and includes a link to find out when to ‘get tested in your geographical area’ for COVID-19.

Another SMS appears to offer a map of COVID-19 cases in your area.

This is a scam. Please delete this message. Do not click the link.

If you click the link, it may install malicious software on your device to try steal your banking details.

If you have clicked on the link and are concerned, call us immediately on 132 888.

And please remember, the Australian Government or Bank Australia won’t text you a web link.

Find out more from Stay Smart Online.

Scam text message with a malicious link, requesting the user to visit the link

Scam text message urging user to follow the link to find out the most dangerous places to avoid

Australia Post COVID-19 phishing email

Under the pretence of providing advice about travelling to countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19, this phishing email aims to trick you into visiting a website that will steal your personal and financial information.

Once they have your personal information, the scammers can open bank accounts or credit cards in your name, often using these stolen funds to purchase luxury items or transfer the money into untraceable crypto-currencies such as bitcoin.

An Australia Post COVID-19 phishing email

International health organisation phishing email

This is an example of one COVID-19 themed phishing email where the sender is pretending to be a well-known international health organisation.

The email prompts you to click on the web link to access information about new cases of the virus in your local area, or to open an attachment for advice on safety measures to prevent the spread.

An example of a malicious email trying to impersonate the World Health Organisation

Malicious email attachments from ‘World Health Organisation’ impersonator

In this example, the phishing email is pretending to be from the World Health Organization and prompts you to open an attachment for advice on safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

When opened, the attached file contains malicious software that automatically downloads onto your device, providing the scammer with ongoing access to your device.

Malicious email attachments from sender who is trying to impersonate the World Health Organisation. The email has an attachment embedded with malicious software

Relief payment scam

Scammers are also sending phishing emails targeting an increasing number of Australians that are seeking to work from home, wanting to help with relief efforts or requiring financial assistance if they find themselves out of work.

The scam email offers recipients $2,500 in ‘COVID-19 assistance’ payments if they complete an attached application form. Opening the attachment may download malicious software onto your device.

An example of a scam email. The email states that a there is an immediate check of 2,500 AUD for those who fill out the attached word document and submit it

Superannuation scam

Scammers are now taking advantage of recent announcements around people being able to access their super early.

The ACCC reports that scammers are cold-calling people offering to assist them to access their super early.

If you decide to access your super early, you do not require help from a third party organisation or person to do this. You also do not need to pay a fee to access your super early.

You can organise early access to your super through your MyGov account. Always type in the website address (URL) in directly and don't follow a hyperlink to MyGov in an email. That link in an email could be a phishing scam.

For more information

If you’ve suffered financial loss from cybercrime, report it to ReportCyber.

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.

Need help?

Send us a secure message in the app or internet banking

or call us.

A person holding a phone with Bank Australia digital banking on the screen