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Scammers use vaccine rollout to target Aussies

·2-min read
A gloved hand prepared a syringe with a dose of COVID vaccine with a small ASIC logo in the top right corner.
ASIC has warned business to watch out for scammers offering early access to the COVID vaccine (Source: Getty)

ASIC is urging Australians to be wary of scammers using the COVID-19 pandemic to target small businesses.

The corporate watchdog said scammers often target small business owners as they recognise that they are busy and may have limited resources to keep systems safe.

ASIC said there are a number of scams being aimed at small businesses, but some of the most concerning are those taking advantage of the pandemic.

Supply scams

ASIC said as the COVID-19 vaccine is rolled out in Australia scammers are using this as an attempt to target businesses.

“Scammers may ask you to pay for vaccines, or get early access to vaccines,” ASIC said.

“COVID-19 vaccines are voluntary, free and available to all people living in Australia. You cannot pay to get early access to vaccines or obtain fake vaccine certificates.”

Business email compromise

Another common practice by scammers is to pretend to be an employee or supplier, by falsely using the suppliers logo or branding, or employees email.

ASIC said a red flag is when what appears to be an employee or supplier requests payments be made to a new bank account.

“If unsure, always call to confirm changes such as bank details, even if an explanation is provided by email,” ASIC said.

“Educate your staff to be on the lookout for unusual activity.”

Phishing

ASIC said scammers often impersonate a government department or trusted business to trick people into providing personal, business or financial information or downloading software that steals it.

“Genuine emails will not include links to sign in pages, or ask for your personal information, account details, PIN or passwords,” ASIC said.

“If you are unsure, do not click on any links or attachments. Instead, contact the organisation using a trusted information source that you’ve found and verified yourself.”

What to do if you are scammed

You can report any suspected scams to SCAMwatch. You can also make a report to the Australian Cyber Security Centre at ReportCyber.

For scams involving financial services or investments, lodge a report of misconduct with ASIC.

“Your report may disrupt the scammers and hopefully will warn others to avoid it,” ASIC said.

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