SCAM ALERT. Unfortunately scams have been around pretty much since the internet came to be. They’ve always been a nuisance and perhaps a waste of intelligence when it comes to IT. If all of those that scammed people could use that talent for good, we’d be living in a different world and we might feel safer when doing anything online. It’s a horrible thing to happen at the best of times, but scammers are using COVID as an opportunity to kick people when they’re already down. In fact, Scamwatch has received over 4560 reports mentioning the coronavirus, with over $5,118,000.00 in reported losses since the outbreak began.
DO NOT CLICK ON THAT LINK! I had heard comments that scammers were rife and to be cautious, I always thought that I was being the safest I could while online, but I also didn’t realise the depths they could actually go until I started receiving text messages from a different number daily, telling me all sorts of things to try and get me to click a link. This seems like a pretty obvious scam, and I delete the message immediately, though what concerns me is the older generation or not so tech savvy guys and gals that might not think anything of clicking a link and providing personal details, especially when there’s any threat of legal action if they don’t follow the instructions. Another more common scam i’ve had the displeasure of being witness to is that in which they send an email that appears to have been sent from my own email address, claiming they have video proof of me doing not very nice things and if I don’t pay a sum of money they’ll release it to the world. Thankfully, I was fully aware that I had not done any not very nice things, so what they were claiming was impossible, but again this might not be the case with everyone and this is where emotions can take over.
These emotions are what seems to be making it so easy for scammers to take advantage in these horrible and uncertain times. People are already on edge, having to deal with things like accessing super, shopping online more, banking online more or even dealing with Centrelink when they may have never had to before. Because it might be new territory, they think that email or message popping up is legitimate and that they are genuinely dealing with the agency and not an impersonator. Some emails i’ve personally witnessed while working in the banking industry have been nearly identical to another genuine email from that same company, making it almost impossible to spot the difference.
Thankfully though, there are IT experts out there that are trying to combat these scum.. I mean scammers. They have devised ways to attempt to keep us safe considering we now live in a predominately online world. There are some helpful tips on the website https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/ that will help to keep you protected from the plethora of scams that are constantly presenting themselves. They also provide pictures of real scam messages and emails that you might, and probably will, one day find in your inbox.
It takes a certain type of person to take advantage of another in such trying and testing times, a person I hope to never meet face to face, and one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. But online is the way of the world, and while it may at times be something to be feared, it can also be beneficial, especially when it comes to keeping us all connected whilst having to remain apart. Stay vigilant, stay aware and stay safe.