With more people seeking information and accessing services online, especially due to COVID-19, phishing scams have become more common than ever.
How does it work?
Phishing scams are when scammers pretend to be from a government agency or legitimate business. They send a message – often copying the branding of the agency or business they’re trying to impersonate – in order to trick you into giving out your personal information, like bank account details, passwords and personal information.
They can be very convincing and they’re common for a reason – they work!
They might try to contact you online, over the phone, by text or even on social media, and messages can often contain malicious links or attachments designed to steal your personal and financial information.
- You receive an unexpected text, social media message or email asking you to click a link or take an urgent action.
- The message looks familiar, but something seems a little bit off.
- The message includes an unusual attachment.
- The email address or web link has been altered slightly, or might appear different to what you’ve seen before.
- The messages contain an offer or voucher, or say you’ve won a competition and need to follow instructions to claim your prize.
- The messages ask you to confirm your personal information.
Things to remember
- If you’re unsure, contact the business or agency using contact details you’ve found independently, for example from a phone book, past bill or online search. Don’t use contact details in the message, email or given over the phone as they’re likely fake.
- Never use links provided in texts or emails.
- If you need to check or update an account (like a bank account, myGov account or any subscription service), log into your account by typing the web address directly into your browser or using a trusted application on your device.
- Ask someone! Share the message or email you’ve received with a friend and ask for their opinion. These scams often do the rounds and may have also been sent to someone you know.
What to do if you think you’ve been scammed
- If you have made a payment to a scammer, or think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately. They may be able to stop the payment for you.
- If you’re worried about your computer being hacked, seek help from a qualified and reputable computer technician or update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Research first and only purchase software from a source you know and trust.
- Report your experience to cyber.gov.au. This helps us and other government agencies warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible.