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ACCC warns of COVID-19 scams

Nurse holding a positive blood test result for the new rapidly spreading Coronavirus, originating in Wuhan, China. lettering on the label coronavirus test covid-19,

Consumer watchdog ACCC has received 94 reports of scams since January 2020 via Scamwatch and said that figure will continue to rise.

Aussies are receiving misinformation on cures and investment scams related to COVID-19. The ACCC received reports of phishing scams sent to emails or text messages stating that they have official information on coronavirus. The scammers then attempt to obtain personal data.

“Unfortunately, scammers are using the uncertainty around COVID-19, or coronavirus, to take advantage of people. We’ve had a wide variety of scams reported to us, including fake online stores selling products claiming to be a vaccine or cure for coronavirus, and stores selling products such as face masks and not providing the goods,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

Rickard urged consumers not to purchase any products that claim to cure or prevent COVID-19.

“Understandably, people want information on the pandemic, but they should be wary of emails or text messages claiming to be from experts. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the Department of Health and the World Health Organization websites directly.”

For those who are scammed, they are advised to contact their bank or financial institution immediately.

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