Scammers try to ‘phish’ for your personal and financial information by impersonating government, businesses or even your friends.

Scammers may pretend to have an existing commercial or personal relationship with you or pretend to be the government. It’s important to stop and determine that a contact is who they claim to be.

Phishing scams can occur in the form of text messages, emails, on the internet and via cold-call. Electronic phishing scams can contain malicious links and attachments designed to steal your personal and financial information.

Phishing scams are the most common scam reported to Scamwatch, and many people will come across phishing scams in their everyday lives.

Physical restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a mass shift towards working, socialising and operating in the digital environment.

With more people seeking information and accessing services online, scammers used the spread of COVID-19 to take advantage of people in a variety of phishing scams.

Protect yourself from phishing scams

1. Stop & think2. Don't open or click3. Find & verify
Scams often try to create a sense of urgency. Don’t rush—think about what the message is telling you to do and consider whether it’s real. Phishing scams can take the form of fake vouchers or competitions, surveys, postal notifications, bills, account alerts, or pretend to offer information. They will always ask you to click on a link, open an attachment or provide your details. Don’t give your personal information to unexpected callers or respond to messages and emails asking for your details, even if they claim to be from a reputable organisation or government authority—just press delete or hang up.Don’t open attachments or click on links in unexpected texts, social media messages, pop-up windows or emails, even if it appears to come from a trusted source. Even if you’ve previously received legitimate text messages from the same number, don’t assume all following messages are real. Scammers can ‘spoof’ real phone numbers or email addresses, to make it appear that they come from a legitimate contact.If you’re unsure, contact the person, business or agency using contact details you have 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. If you need to check or update an account, such as a bank account, myGov account or any subscription service, log into your account by typing the web address into your browser or using a trusted application on your device. Never use links provided in texts or emails.

Content supplied by the Scams Awareness Network, a group of Australian and New Zealand government agencies with responsibility for consumer protection and policing in scams, cyber safety and fraud.

Please note this information is general in nature and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. You should consider this before acting on any of the information contained. 

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