Scam warning amid online boost


Tate Papworth

The Victorian government is urging people to be wary with their personal information during the pandemic.

The government said Victorians lost more money in the first eight months of this year than during the entire 12 months of last year.

Consumer Affairs Minister Melissa Horne said being mindful of who you give your details to has never been more important, given the huge number of people working, studying, and shopping from home due to coronavirus restrictions.

“It’s appalling that anyone would use this situation to take advantage of someone, but we all need to do our part to protect our safety online,” Ms Horne said.

“Our growing use of technology gives scammers more opportunities to trick you into giving away your personal or financial information – people need to be careful and report any suspected scams to police.”

Coronavirus restrictions mean more people are turning to digital platforms to communicate, and while social media is a way to stay connected, it can also be a hunting ground for scammers.

New Scamwatch data shows Victorians have been scammed out of more than $10 million already this year, compared to just over $8.2 million in 2019.

Almost 2000 Australians reported potential identity theft so far in 2020 alone.

Identity scams can happen in many ways, ranging from someone using your credit card illegally, to having your entire identity assumed by another person and business conducted in your name without your knowledge or consent.

If you suspect your personal information has been stolen, act quickly to report it to police and notify the relevant organisation, such as your bank, if you think your credit card is being misused.