Australians are being warned of fake charity and insurance scams post flood crisis

24 March, 2022

Australians who have been impacted by the devastating floods that battered the country's east coast, now have something else to worry about - scammers.

As many begin cleaning and picking up the pieces after their businesses and homes were devastatingly destroyed, many have begun making insurance claims. 

However, now there are reports of scammers trying to take advantage, not only of those impacted, but of the community’s good will. A common tactic employed by scammers in the wake of natural disasters is to set up fake donation sites and pose as charities or pretend to be insurance companies or government bureaucrats, aiming to con money out of unsuspecting victims.  
 

Phishing Scams


When a disaster like this happens, scammers may send through emails or text messages posing as a government agency offering financial assistance, such as the $1000 disaster payment, and request people to click on a link. 

In phishing attacks such as these, when someone clicks on the link, they trigger the download and installation of a piece of software onto their device giving the scammer unlimited access to their personal information. From there, a scammer can record while a person logs onto their online banking and steal their money. 

Fraudsters may also create fake or look-alike websites posing as charities. Consumer watchdog site ScamWatch has warned Austrlians to ensure they are donating to true and legitimate organisations. To verify their credentials, check to see if the charity is on the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commissions Website. 
 

How to Protect Yourself


The ACCC has said Australians should take not of several things to protect themselves from scams:

  • Don't click on hyperlinks in text / social media messages or emails, even if they appear to come from a trusted source 
  • ​Never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for personal or financial details, even if they claim to be a from a reputable organisation or government authority 
  • ​Approach charity organisations directly to make a donation or offer support 
  • ​To verify the legitimacy of a contact, find them through an independent source such as yellow pages or a Google search 
  • ​Legitimate charities are registered – you can check an organisation’s credentials on the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) website to see if they are a genuine charity
  • Never send money or give personal information, credit card details or online account details to anyone you don’t know or trust​
  • ​If you are approached by a street collector, ask to see their identification. If you have any doubts about who they are, do not pay.
  • ​If you are approached in person, ask the collector for details about the charity such as its full name, address and how the proceeds will be used.
  • ​Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin.
  • ​Use PayID - PayID an online application that reassures customers that they are sending money to a legitimate account 

 

We Are Here To Help


If you have fallen victim to a flood related scam, please get in touch today. Our team will do everything we can to try and retrieve your money. 

If you wish to raise a complaint, we suggest you contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority and also present the issue to ScamWatch.