Australians are being warned to be cautious of online scams in light of the current flood disaster as several cybercriminals are taking advantage of the situation.
According to Westpac, a typical tactic used by online scammers is to set up fake donation sites to pose as relief funds for the recent flood victims.
Chris Whittingham, Westpac’s General Manager of Fraud Prevention and Financial Crime said, “with the current floods crisis, scammers will try to take advantage of Australians’ generosity and support by setting up fake donation sites, or even posing as insurers, businesses, or government organisations offering help to the victims themselves.”
“We are urging people to be on high alert to the possibility of scams and closely check that any websites or charitable organisations are legitimate before sending funds or your personal information,” he added.
Mr. Whittingham said the scammers are deliberately trying to establish an emotional connection with Australians so that they can get as much money from them as possible.
“Time and time again, following a significant event or natural disaster, we see an increase in people being duped by scams, for example, after the devastating 2020 bushfires,” he explained.
“This is a tactic fraudsters have continued to adopt throughout the pandemic where scams have almost tripled, exploiting the hearts and wallets of those experiencing hardship, or who have sought out items in high demand, like Rapid Antigen Tests.”
Scamwatch advises Aussies to make sure they only donate to a legitimate charity which you can find out by checking that it is registered on the national register, which can be searched here.