Australian organisations are encouraged to urgently adopt an enhanced cyber security position. Organisations should act now and follow ACSC’s advice to improve their cyber security resilience in light of the heightened threat environment.

Scammers are taking advantage of COVID-19 to launch new scams targeting small business owners.

More than 6,400 COVID-19 related scams have been reported to Scamwatch since the pandemic began, with an estimated financial loss of more than $9,800,000.

Some examples of scams/tactics that have been used include: 

  • Vaccination scams requesting payments for vaccines, promoting investment opportunities in vaccine companies and fake vaccination surveys offering prizes.
  • Government impersonation scams via text and email attempting to steal your personal and financial information. These messages often contain malicious links and attachments and attempt to impersonate the Department of Health or myGov.
  • Fake financial assistance scams, also impersonating the government, try to collect your information by offering to help with applications for financial assistance.
  • Superannuation scams offering to assist you in accessing the government’s superannuation early release measure.
  • Business compromise scams, where scammers attempt to impersonate a supplier or business you deal and use COVID-19 as an excuse to request payments are made to a different bank account.

How to avoid being scammed

  • Be very cautious of opening or responding to any email whose sender name you don’t recognise, and delete the message if unsure.
  • Don’t click on any links you don’t recognise or download any attachments. On a PC, you can hover over the link to see the web address it is hyperlinked to (this will usually appear at the bottom of your browser window) to check if it looks suspicious.
  • Never provide your details if you receive an unexpected call from your bank or other institution. Ask for the name and contact number of the person who called you and then check independently through the organisation’s main number that this is a genuine enquiry.
  • Ensure you have high quality anti-virus software installed on your computer – ask your IT adviser for help if unsure. Please note, software is not a substitute for caution.
  • Also beware of social media posts which link to unreliable information.

More information

For more information about protecting yourself and your business from scammers read:

For more information on current cyber threats, visit the Australian Cyber Security Centre website and sign up for their free alert service so you can stay on top of the latest online threats and what you can do to prevent them impacting on your business.

Legal and risk
23 February 2022