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ACCC Warns Against Bogus ‘Coronavirus Tech Scams,’ Tech Brands Exploited

The Australian consumer watchdog, ACCC, has warned that coronavirus scams spread on Facebook and misleading health emails are on the rise.

The ACCC said that numerous scams profiting off exploiting people’s fears of the fatal coronavirus have been reported to Scamwatch in high numbers.

One scam includes a fake petition on Facebook to stop children returning to school because of the virus and encourage people to pay $5 to $100 to ‘put the petition on the agenda,’ according to The Australia.

There were also reports of a website that professed to sell a vaccine to the coronavirus, claiming to be from the Australian medical university, despite no vaccine being in existence.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims. (AAP Image/David Moir)

The bogus site only accepted money in bitcoin – a currency frequently used by fraudsters.

Another scam involved an alleged fraudulent online shopping website claiming to sell costly medical face masks, without providing the goods after purchase.

A spokesperson for the ACCC said that consumers can report scams to the regulator.

‘Be careful of online shopping sites requesting unusual payment methods such as upfront payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin,’ she told the publication.

‘It’s also a good idea to do an online search or read reviews to identify a fake trader or online shopping scam, as many people report scams this way.’

(AP Photo/Raphael Satter, File)

Additionally, researchers from Proofpoint, a global security firm, have uncovered a new coronavirus thread of email attacks that centre on concerns around disruptions to global shipping.

The email campaign exploits an old Microsoft Office flaw and features malicious Microsoft word documents that installs an information stealing malware.

ANZ Country Manager for Proofpoint, Crispin Kerr, said businesses in industrial, finance, manufacturing, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries were being targeted by malicious fraudsters, who profit from their trusted brands.

It comes amid a global pandemic of the coronavirus outbreak, killing up to 1,300 and infected another 45,175 people globally.

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