We continue to advise Australians to be vigilant about scammers using calls, SMS and emails to take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout and, more generally, COVID-related restrictions. These scams may try and look like trusted brands or use scare tactics to trick you into giving personal and financial details.
Do not provide your personal details over the phone or click on any links within an email or text message before checking the source is legitimate.
Important facts about the COVID-19 vaccination rollout:
- You should not be asked by anyone (other than your doctor or medical professional) to provide any personal information over the phone, email or SMS to get access to, or information about, the vaccination.
- The vaccination is free – you will not be asked to pay a fee to get vaccinated, to book an appointment or go on a waiting list.
- You do not need a prescription from a doctor to get the vaccine.
- The vaccine will not be sent to you in the mail.
If in doubt, or for more information, contact the Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine helpline on 1800 020 080 or visit health.gov.au.
The ACMA is aware of COVID-19 scams reported in Australia and around the world that attempt to trick you into providing your personal or financial information, including:
- offering opportunities to invest in a vaccine company
- asking you to complete a fake vaccine-related survey to win a prize
- taking advantage of the use of tracing apps, including by offering apps that don’t work.
You can verify who is contacting you by looking them up and calling back on a legitimate number or going directly to their website. For example, to reach the MyGov website, type ‘my.gov.au’ into your browser rather than clicking on a link in a text.
You can make a report and/or find out more about COVID-19 scams at Scamwatch.
Remember … scammers target everyone! Find out more about how to protect yourself from phone scams here.
The accuracy of COVID information
If you are concerned about COVID-19 information in communications or online, you can take the following steps to inform and protect yourself:
- Check the source of the material. See whether it comes from a credible website or from a verified account on the social media platform.
- Verify who else, particularly credible sources, is reporting the material.
- Check images and videos closely to see if they might have been edited or show an unrelated place or event.
- Visit a fact-checking website to verify the information, including at AAP FactCheck, RMIT ABC Fact Check and AFP Fact Check, or the Department of Health’s Is It True? website for answers to common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Be wary if the material is related to an emotionally charged or divisive issue.
- If in doubt, don’t share it. You can also contact the platform directly if you have concerns.
- Digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide tips on how to spot disinformation and misinformation. They also promote information from credible sources, such as COVID-19 updates from the Australian Government and the World Health Organisation.