During the current COVID crisis the finance industry has seen an increase in various scams, as some people try to take advantage of the disruption and uncertainty.
The most common scam involves cold-calls to Australians and unsolicited emails and text messages about accessing their super early. And a recent survey of 1,066 respondents revealed that a whopping 47% of Australians aged 18 and above – equivalent to 9 million people – have been targeted and received a fraudulent text or phone call since the pandemic began in March1.
The ATO and your super fund (in this case Vision Super) will never contact you out of the blue about accessing your super early or ask you for your passwords. The messages that are being sent contain a link to what looks like the myGov site, but isn’t, so it’s best not to open these text messages or emails.
How to avoid falling victim to a scam
First, know that scams exist. When someone contacts you by phone, mail, email, in person, or on social media, don’t automatically assume it’s genuine. Some people have ulterior motives, and often if it seems to be too good to be true, it is.
Fraudsters won’t give you the time to think things through but will ask you to take action immediately. Question why it’s so urgent. Don’t feel pressured to do anything without hanging up and checking. If they’re pretending to be from the ATO, call the ATO and verify. Or check the Scamwatch website for updates.
Don’t give away your personal details. That includes passwords or credit card information. If scammers are wanting you to make a payment, consider how they’re requesting this payment. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, so fraudsters prefer other payment methods such as iTunes or Kmart gift cards, preloaded debit cards or virtual currency.
If you ever receive any correspondence from us that doesn’t look right, then please give us a call on 1300 300 820 Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm. We will quickly tell you if it’s legitimate.
If you receive a phone call from us that you weren’t expecting, then feel free to hang up politely and give us a call yourself – 1300 300 820 – we won’t be offended!