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Warning on COVID-19 scams

Australians should be aware scammers are adapting existing technology to play on people’s fears around coronavirus and selling products claiming to prevent or cure the virus.

Since 1 January 2020, the ACCC’s Scamwatch has received 94 reports of scams about coronavirus, but warns figures are starting to climb.

Scamwatch has received multiple reports of phishing scams sent via email or text message that take advantage of people by claiming to be providing official information on coronavirus but are attempts to try and obtain personal data.

Other scams include people receiving misinformation about cures for coronavirus and investment scams claiming coronavirus has created opportunities to make money. These include fake online stores selling products claiming to be a vaccine or cure for coronavirus, and stores selling products such as face masks and not providing the goods.

There is no known vaccine or cure for coronavirus and a vaccine isn’t expected to be available for 18 months.

Do NOT buy any products that claim to prevent or cure you of COVID-19 – they don’t exist.

Scammers are also impersonating official organisations such as the World Health Organization and the Department of Health or legitimate businesses such as travel agents and telecommunications companies.

People wanting information on the pandemic should be wary of emails or text messages claiming to be from experts.

For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the Department of Health and the World Health Organization websites directly.

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

More information on coronavirus scams is available on the Scamwatch website, including how to make a report and where to get help.