In 2018, ScamWatch received more than 17,000 reports of phishing scams across Australia, resulting in a loss of more than $530,000. Fraudulent emails, also known as phishing emails, commonly appear after major natural disasters in an attempt to take advantage of Australians’ generous nature. Phishing emails usually contain links or attachments that direct you to malicious websites. These websites download harmful malware onto your device without you knowing.
Australians should exercise extreme caution when handling emails with a subject line, attachment, or hyperlink that relates to emergency assistance. Even if the email appears to originate from a legitimate source, scammers will try to deceive you into believing that it’s from a trusted source. Australians are also reminded to be wary of fraudulent social media pleas, calls, texts, donation websites and door knock appeals relating to emergencies.