<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=438711809987663&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Back to blog

COVID-19: Misinformation and scamming

Sonder   |   Apr 7, 2020 10:00:00 AM
Screen Shot 2020-02-26 at 10-27-38 am

Whilst we have seen many communities and organisations come together to support one another, unfortunately there are those that attempt to make financial gain by exploiting the fears of the public. This comes in the form of scams via email, phone call and other regular forms of contact.

The intelligence team at Sonder have already seen the following reports:

  • Scammers trying to take advantage of the Government's recent announcement regarding early access to superannuation (more details below)
  • Phishing emails and phone calls impersonating legitimate organisations (these include people pretending to be the World Health Organisation; charities; government authorities; travel agents and telecommunications companies).
  • Products claiming to be a vaccine, prevention, or cure for the coronavirus.
  • Misinformation about COVID-19, being sent by text, social media and email.
  • Investment scams claiming coronavirus has created wealth opportunities.

Often, these kind of scams have the intention of taking payment from the innocent party. It is important to be aware of this to avoid undue financial, physical and mental stress. 

If you come across claims of a vaccine or cure, methods of detection of COVID-19 or statistics regarding the spread and effects of COVID-19, there are plenty of reliable sources you can turn to for validation:

  • The World Health Organisation. Their primary role is to direct international health within the United Nations' system and to lead partners in global health responses. They have a dedicated information feed available on their website.    
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, which is the national public health institute of the United States.
  • The Australian Department of Health that provides country-wide information on COVID-19.
  • The New Zealand Ministry of Health website provides country-wide information on COVID-19.
  • The Australian Government ScamWatch page for COVID-19 related scams.
  • This Google page, which has collated verified sources of information for you.
  • Scam Detector has created a list of the most common COVID-19 scams here.

In regards to the scam circulating in regards to superannuation, the ACCC reports that there have been 87 reports of these scams, with no reported losses at the time of writing. These scams are in the form of cold-calls from people claiming to be from organisations that can help you get early access to your super. Please note, The Australian Taxation Office is coordinating the early release of super through myGov and there is no need to involve a third party or pay a fee to get access under this scheme. The ATO and ACCC advise that you should never follow a hyperlink to reach the myGov website. Instead, you should always type the full name of the website into your browser yourself

Sonder's support team are here to talk, 24/7. All of the team are skilled and ready to help you problem solve. They are ready to support you - however you might need it. Call, chat or swipe for help anytime, seriously.

You can also contact IDCARE, a free Government-supported service which will work with you to develop a specific response plan to your situation and support you through the process.

More information on coronavirus scams is available on the Scamwatch website, including how to make a report and where to get help.

You can also follow @scamwatch_gov on Twitter and subscribe to Scamwatch radar alerts