Most people are now aware that scammers are unfortunately ever present in our modern-day life and the frequent use of the internet has only served to increase this risk. We noticed an increase in this activity during the initial roll out of the NBN and other Government programs or initiatives. Covid 19 is yet another opportunity for increased scam activity including scams targeting superannuation.

ScamWatch, a division of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that helps protect Australians from scams, has recently reported an increase in scams since the Coronavirus crisis began.

The ACCC has advised that scammers are taking advantage of people financially impacted by the Coronavirus crisis by falsely selling products or services online and using fake emails or text messages to try and obtain personal data.

There are also reports of scammers offering to check if a person’s superannuation account is eligible for various benefits (such as the early release of superannuation) or claiming new schemes will lock people out of their accounts.

In 2019, Australians lost over $6 million to superannuation scams with people aged 45–54 losing the most amount of money.

Please remember, never give any personal information about your superannuation, bank accounts or other financial information to anyone who has contacted you by phone or email. You should first confirm who has contacted you and make sure they are a legitimate company or government representative. Hang up and call the organisation directly by doing an independent search for their contact details. Better still, check with your relationship manager if you have any doubts to their legitimacy.

Steps you can take

If you think you may have provided information about your superannuation account to a scammer, please contact our office immediately. You can also contact www.idcare.org, a free Government-supported service which will work with you to develop a specific response plan to your situation and support you through the process.

More information on Coronavirus scams is available on the Scamwatch website (https://www.scamwatch.gov.au).

Quill is here to support you if you have any further questions, please contact our office.

 

About COVID-19 scams

Scamwatch has received over a thousand coronavirus-related scam reports since the outbreak. Common scams include phishing for personal information, online shopping, and scams targeting superannuation.

If you have been scammed or have seen a scam, you can make a report on the Scamwatch website, and find more information about where to get help.

Scamwatch urges everyone to be cautious and remain alert to coronavirus-related scams. Scammers are hoping that you have let your guard down. Do not provide your personal, banking or superannuation details to strangers who have approached you.

Scammers may pretend to have a connection with you. So it’s important to stop and check, even when you are approached by what you think is a trusted organisation.

Visit the Scamwatch news webpage for general warnings and media releases on COVID-19 scams.

Below are some examples of what to look out for.

These are a few examples, but there are many more.  If your experience does not match any of the examples provided, it could still be a scam. If you have any doubts at all, don’t proceed.

Phishing – Government impersonation scams

Scammers are pretending to be government agencies providing information on COVID-19 through text messages and emails ‘phishing’ for your information. These contain malicious links and attachments designed to steal your personal and financial information.

In the examples below the text messages appear to come from ‘GOV’ and ‘myGov’, with a malicious link to more information on COVID-19.