Coronavirus related scams
Recently there has been a raft of scams related to Coronavirus as scammers a play on the fears of consumers. Scamwatch^ has reported on scammers are doing things such as falsely selling Coronavirus-related products online, and using fake emails or text messages to try and obtain personal data. Other scams include phishing emails and phone calls impersonating the World Health Organisation, government authorities, and legitimate businesses – including travel agents and telecommunications companies.
Common types of coronavirus scams reported by Scamwatch:
- phishing emails and phone calls impersonating entities. These include the World Health Organisation, government authorities, people confirmed to have the coronavirus, and legitimate businesses such as travel agents and telecommunications companies
- people receiving misinformation about the coronavirus, being sent by text, social media and email
- products claiming to be a vaccine or cure for the coronavirus
- investment scams claiming coronavirus has created opportunities.
Please be aware of current scam emails purporting to be from the ATO. The ATO would never ask for your bank account details other than in the secure myGov portal.
Here are a few suggestions to stay safe.
Know the tricksScammers often use the same tactics to gain your trust and get your information. Here are some of the main tactics scammers use to reel you in:
Pressure or threats
Most reputable companies won’t pressure or threaten you to take an action. If an offer really seems too good to be true, it just might be a scam. Some scammers might approach you with offers to invest in their company with amazing returns or access your super early. Don’t be afraid to ask to call the company back and do your own research before handing over any money (or sensitive information!).
You can learn how to check if an investment is genuine on the ASIC MoneySmart Website.
Fake websites and links
Scam websites or emails often have strange URLs. If you’re on a computer, you can hover your mouse over the link to see a preview of the link URL in the status bar. Then, check to see if the link site matches the site that it should be from.
Typos or low resolution images
While companies sometimes make mistakes, emails full of typos or poor imagery are usually fakes. If in doubt, contact the company directly (getting their details from a trusted source) and confirm before entering any personal information.
Reputable companies won’t ask you to send large amounts of unsolicited personal information. For example, at TelstraSuper we’ll never ask you to email us your sensitive personal information like bank details, login details, pin numbers or tax file numbers.
Phone scams will take advantage of events like the bush fires and Coronavirus and call pretending to represent a company needing information. If you are uncomfortable with the amount of information being asked for say you will call the company back directly and get the company direct line from the internet not from the caller. Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
Rise in superannuation scams
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission and Australian Federal Police have been conducting investigations into cybercrime activity relating to superannuation.
In particular, there have been reports of phone based scams relating to superannuation early-release and insurance in super, with scammers seeking information about people's accounts.
While TelstraSuper has a range of security measures in place to protect your money, there’s also a few things you can do to help keep your super safe such as:
- Choosing a secure password and updating it regularly
- Not accessing your online super account on public computers like internet cafes or libraries
- Securing your postal mail and keeping an eye out for missing mail
- Keeping your computer and phone software up to date
- Reviewing your super statement and reporting any suspicious transactions or activity to us.
If you notice unusual transactions on your account please contact us immediately on 1300 033 166.
For more information on identity crime, including how to protect your identity and where to go for help if you think your identity has been compromised, visit ASIC’s Moneysmart Identity Fraud page.
What you can do if you’ve been scammed
If you think you could have been involved in a financial or investment scam you should report it to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission right away.
If you have sent money or information to a scammer, contact your bank immediately. They may be able to stop a money transfer or close your account if the scammer has your account details. You should also contact the business the scam is pretending to represent.
ASIC MoneySmart share a useful list of steps to take if you’ve been scammed.
Not sure if it’s from us?
TelstraSuper uses a range of ways to communicate with members including email, text message, direct mail and outbound calling. If you’re unsure if a communicate you’re receiving is genuine you can contact us on 1300 033 166 between 8.30am and 5.30pm Monday – Friday (Melbourne time). If in doubt, don’t click – call us instead.