It happens time and time again. Your phone rings, you say hello, and after a minute of fuzzy silence, an automated voice begins. “You have three days to pay the Taxation Office $5,000. If you do not cooperate, a warrant for your arrest will be issued immediately.” You roll your eyes and hang up the phone – but not everyone does.
Scams preying on the vulnerable are particularly rampant in times of crisis. We saw examples during the Australian Bushfire Crisis, with false fundraisers coming in by the droves. Now we’re seeing it during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and if you think you’re above falling for this stuff… think again.
The Door Knockers
The first scam rumours to fly around when the Australian Government started announcing restrictions were for schemes such as ‘free Government sanitisation services’. Allegedly, groups of people were turning up on doorsteps and offering this free cleaning service, preying on the fear of the virus, the needs of those that might not be able to clean themselves and just anybody that might’ve taken something for free. The result is pretty obvious – robbery.
The Phone/Email Fraudsters
In a time of economic uncertainty, when the government is throwing out so many different assistant packages and schemes to help its citizens get by, it is no wonder that the masses are confused. Enter the ‘Superannuation Schemers’. These are the phone and email fraudsters that call you up offering assistance to access your super early, ruthlessly targeting the desperate and downtrodden. Just remember – no matter how confused you are by what’s on offer and how to get it – you should never hand over your personal details or super information over the phone.
The Facebook Profiling
Now, this is what scammers’ dreams are made of – and it’s so simple. Masked as an antidote to boredom, we’re sure you’ve noticed your Facebook friends posting surveys as statuses in the last few weeks and then challenging their friends to do the same. “How old are you? Where did you grow up? Do you live alone? Do you have children? Are you in a relationship? Any pets?” It’s cute, it’s fun, it’s harmless… or is it? This is the ultimate way of profiling you, tracking your moves and knowing how to target you. Think twice before you partake in this one – it’s trapping even the savviest of users.