Unfortunately there are those that attempt to make financial gain by exploiting members 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 recently seen the following scams in circulation:
- Elaborate phone scam targeting Chinese international students, known as 'virtual kidnapping'.
- Covid-19 call scams taking credit card details to send testing kits.
- Scammers appearing as delivery company DHL via email and phone call, requesting payment prior to delivery of goods (see below).
- Investment scams about wealth opportunities.
- Scammers trying to take advantage of the Government's recent announcement regarding early access to superannuation (more details below).
- Individuals taking large deposits from people seeking a dog whilst in lock down.
- 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.
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.
Resources you can rely on:If you are the recipient of unexpected or questionable material in any form (physical, text, phone call, email), you can rely on the following resources for clarity or validation:
- You should check the official brand website for which the communication appears to have come from.
- The Australian Government ScamWatch page tells you all of the current recognised scams.
- The NZ Government Consumer Protection website tells you how to identify a scam and how to report it.
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.
- This Google page, which has collated verified sources of information for you.
More information on the DHL specific scam:How Sonder can support you
Sonder's support team are here to help, 24/7. All of the team are skilled and ready to help you problem solve. If you believe you're a victim of a scam, reach out to us through the app at any time of day or night. We can provide advice and assistance in reporting to authorities, help you with any banking issues and more. Simply call, chat or swipe for help anytime.
Reports have suggested that the DHL scam occurs in the following way:
- An individual receives a call from someone stating to be from DHL. The “DHL employee" informs the individual that customs have found a controlled drug inside a package of theirs and have seized it.
- The “DHL employee" then transfers the call to the “Police” - who is part of the scam. The “Police” then inform the individual that they have committed a serious crime and inform the individual they will be put on hold to check for any further criminal offences committed by the individual.
- The “Police” return and state that the individual’s bank card has now been connected to money laundering and the individual needs to be extradited, which would prevent the individual from ever returning to Australia. The individual is informed that these crimes are of such a serious nature, they must be sworn to confidentiality.
- The individual is transferred again, this time to a “Police Prosecutor” who interrogates the individual and obtains the further personal information, like location and bank details.
- The individual is then told that they are to provide 500,000 Chinese Yuan (RMB) as a “bond” to avoid extradition and also to not tell anyone, or their family may be in danger.
- The individual is then issued a letter, similar to the below stating that "financial proof" of transfer must be made otherwise they will be extradited from Australia.