Pandemic parasites - beware scammers

NBN and Scamwatch warn consumers to be careful

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Pandemic-driven scams are on the rise say NBN Co and Scamwatch

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Pandemic driven social isolation has increased our time online, but it has also increased the number of parasites out to scam users.

NBN Co has warned customers now is the time to remain extra vigilant when it comes to cyber-security.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Scamwatch, more than 2000 coronavirus-related scam reports had been received, with over $700, 000 in reported losses, since the outbreak of COVID-19

Common scams include phishing for personal information, online shopping, and superannuation scams.

NBN Co chief security officer Darren Kane said a current scam mislead people into thinking that their NBN service would be disconnected if they do not provide a 'technician' with online access to their computer.

"As we spend more time online, it is important we do not become complacent when it comes to online security as scammers prey on human emotions, like fear and uncertainty, to trick people," he said.

"Unfortunately, in times like this, phishing emails and scams soon follow as they try to take advantage of the disruption and uncertainty.

"With scammers increasing their efforts to use COVID-19 to steal people's personal or financial details, we are starting to see the emergence NBN related COVID-19 scams, so we are working with agencies like Scamwatch to continue to monitor the situation and alert the community."

Mr Kane said people should never give an unsolicited caller remote access to their computer or devices, such as through the installation of software such as Team Viewer, and they certainly shouldn't share any financial or personal details with someone they don't know.

"It is important to not click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to unsolicited messages," he said.

"Working remotely means you are likely to be in a different environment than your usual office location, so it is important to not get complacent when it comes to the security of work devices and documents.

"This is even more important for all of us that are working from home, as scammers are on the hunt for ways to get access and disrupt home and corporate networks."

Mr Kane said people could visit www.nbn.com.au/scamadvice for information on how to identify and avoid potential scammers or for advice if you suspect you have been scammed.

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