Alert Priority HIGH: COVID-19 scam messages targeting Australians

Alert Priority HIGH: COVID-19 scam messages targeting Australians

16 March 2020

What’s happened?
ASD’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is aware of a COVID-19 themed scam being distributed via text message.
We understand the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)’s Scamwatch has received multiple reports of COVID-19 themed scam texts being sent to members of the public.

The text messages appear to come from ‘GOV’ as the sender and they include a link to find out when to ‘get tested in your geographical area’ for COVID-19.

The link in these text messages is not legitimate, and if clicked on, may install malicious software on your device, designed to steal your banking details.

How do I stay safe?

If you receive one of these messages, delete the message and do not click the link.

Messages that pretend to be government and other trusted organisations are known as phishing scams. They often contain a link to a fake website, where you are encouraged to enter confidential details.

To protect yourself from phishing:

  • Remember, Australian Government agencies will never send you text messages containing web-links.
  • Before you click a link, hover over that link to see the actual web address it will take you to (usually shown at the bottom of the browser window). If you do not recognise or trust the address, try searching for relevant key terms in a web browser. This way you can find the article, video or webpage without directly clicking on the suspicious link.
  • If you’re not sure, talk through the suspicious message with a friend or family member, or check its legitimacy by contacting the relevant business or organisation (using contact details sourced from the official company website).

If you’ve received one of these messages and you’ve clicked on the link, or you’re concerned your personal details have been compromised, contact your financial institution immediately.

If you’ve suffered financial loss from cybercrime, report it to ReportCyber at www.cyber.gov.au/report.

More advice and support on our Get help page.

More information
Stay Smart Online has more advice on protecting your mobiles and tablets.

To stay up to date on the latest online threats and how to respond, sign up to the Stay Smart Online Alert Service, www.staysmartonline.gov.au/alert-service.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone’s circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.
Feedback
Thank you to those subscribers who have provided feedback to our Alerts and Newsletters. We are very interested in your feedback and where possible take on board your suggestions or requests.

Disclaimer
This information has been prepared by the ACSC. It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.
This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.
The Commonwealth and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.
Nothing in this information (including the listing of a person or organisation or links to other web sites) should be taken as an endorsement of a particular product or service.
Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.