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Pitfalls of the Digital Age: COVID-19 and Cyberattacks


  • As we are increasingly working, living and socialising online, there is an increase in cyberattacks and online scams.
  • It is important to report any potential scams to the ACCC’s ScamWatch.
  • Be careful and vigilant when giving any personal details out online or over the phone.

You may have noticed that over the past year, you have increasingly been called by random ‘organisations’ with an automated message, have received emails from unknown email addresses or have received a worrying message from your bank. As COVID-19 forces the world to a more online forum for retail, work and social interaction, many people seem concerned about cyberattacks and online scams.

On 12 July 2021, the ACCC’s ScamWatch reported that there has been an increase of 184% of total dollars stolen from Australians from scammers compared to this time last year.

ScamWatch report that most of these scammers front as well-known organisations such as banks, government departments, Telstra and even eBay, taking advantage of the digital world to target and carry out their scams.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard reported that “These types of scams target and impact all people and can be convincing. People aged 55 and older lost over $4.4 million, accounting for almost half of total losses. Young people reported losing on average $20,000 and eight Indigenous Australians, some in remote communities, lost a total of $38,000.”

The scams are getting increasingly complex, some requesting you to download remote control software such as AnyDesk or TeamViewer after repeated communication with you. Scammers will then use this software to access your emails, internet banking and personal information. Some scammers pose as people you already know or organisations you bank, use or service.

ScamWatch reports that the ACCC is currently working with the private sector to develop technology and or information sharing to block and or track these scams.

In the meantime, whilst we are all at home, responding to emails and answering calls from all kinds of phone numbers, here are some hints to protect your online presence in the COVID-19 era:

  • Be alert – know scams exist and the current digital landscape creates an easy and accommodating environment for online scammers;
  • Do not open suspicious emails, answer suspicious calls or click pop-up windows – it is important that you are verifying the email address of people who email you, if the extension to their email is unusual or not expected from the person who is purporting to email you, delete;
  • Do not give anyone remote access to your computer;
  • Secure all passwords and logins;
  • Check ScamWatch for reports of common cyberattacks.

It is important that if you feel like you have been impacted by a cyberattack or an online scam, to contact ScamWatch.

For further information please don’t hesitate to contact:

1300 268 887

Contact Coutts today.

This blog is merely general and non-specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.

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