Coronavirus scam promises monetary reward for staying home
A fake coronavirus email is currently circulating, designed to steal people's bank details, the Australian government has warned.
Unsuspecting victims are sent an email that promises to provide a 'COVID-19 relief' payment to anyone who chooses to stay at home during the coronavirus crisis.
Scamwatch, a body run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), warned its Twitter followers that the email is not legitimate.
"The attachment titled 'COVID 19 Relief' is malicious – don't open it, delete the email immediately," the tweet read.
Since January 1, 2020, the ACCC's Scamwatch has received 94 reports of scams about coronavirus, but warns figures are starting to climb.
"Unfortunately, scammers are using the uncertainty around COVID-19, or coronavirus, to take advantage of people," ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
"Understandably, people want information on the pandemic, but they 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."
According to Scamwatch, it has received multiple reports of scams sent via email or text message that claim to provide official information on coronavirus or financial benefits but are attempts to obtain personal data.
WHO recommends that users verify the sender by checking their email address, check any links before clicking and be wary of anyone asking for personal information.
The body also confirmed it will never ask for direct donations via email, separate websites, calls or texts.
Other nefarious and fast-moving crooks have exploited the coronavirus to scam more than $1 million from hapless victims who were fearful about the growing pandemic.
Experts warn it's "quite common for threat actors to exploit basic human emotions such as fear – especially if a global event has already caused terror and panic".