As panic spreads across the country over the novel coronavirus outbreak, The World Health Organisation has warned of a new scam using the virus to steal money and personal information.
With Australians stripping supermarket shelves of essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitiser to mitigate the risk of contracting the deadly virus, the international health body has urged people to ensure they’re also protecting themselves online.
In a statement today, WHO revealed scammers have been taking advantage of panic surrounding the spread of coronavirus by disguising themselves as the official health body, sending emails asking recipients to give sensitive information (such as passwords or usernames), click a link or open attachments.
To ensure people don’t fall victim to the scam, WHO is warning they would never ask anyone to login to view safety information, email unsolicited attachments or ask recipients to view links outside their official domain.
They also conveyed they would never ask for money to apply for a job, register for a conference or to book accommodation through emails. WHO also warned they never conduct lotteries, grants, certificates or funding through email.
The organisation also said they would never ask people to directly donate to any emergency response plans or funding appeals, which includes any coronavirus-related appeals.
“Cybercriminals use emergencies such as 2019-nCov to get people to make decisions quickly,” the warning read.
“Always take time to think about a request for your personal information, and whether the request is appropriate.”
The outbreak of COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, with more than 97,000 cases reported worldwide, and more than 3,300 deaths.
In Australia, the total confirmed cases has reached 59 confirmed, with two confirmed deaths, including 78-year-old West Australian James Kwan, who passed away at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital last week.