Scammers have hit a new low with a brutal myGov scam targeting struggling Australians by offering false hope in helping with the rising cost of living.
According to 7News, scammers send a text message offering a one-off payment to “help you cope”.
“myGov: We’re providing $800 in a single payment to help you cope with the cost of living crisis,” the text message says, including a link to a fake government website.
MyGov has been vocal about warning people to stay vigilant against scams, saying the government body is currently being targeted.
Knowing how to tell the difference between real and fake myGov messages plays a big part in helping you avoid scammers.
— myGov (@myGovau) April 21, 2023
“myGov will never send you an email, SMS message, or direct message or private chat on social media, asking you to: click on a link to sign in to myGov – enter your bank details – tell us your personal details, including your Customer Reference Number (CRN) or Tax File Number (TFN),” the myGov website states.
A recent report by the ACCC states that Aussies have lost “a record $3.1 billion to scams” in the past year.
According to the data, investment scams incurred the highest losses, totalling $1.5 billion. This was followed by remote access scams, which resulted in a loss of $229 million, and payment redirection scams, with a loss of $224 million.
“Australians lost more money to scams than ever before in 2022, but the true cost of scams is much more than a dollar figure as they also cause emotional distress to victims, their families and businesses,” ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said.
“As scammers become increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, it is clear a coordinated response across government, law enforcement and the private sector is essential to combat scams more effectively.
“That’s why we continue to lend our expertise and support to prepare for the establishment of the Government’s National Anti-Scam Centre, with the ultimate aim of making Australia the hardest target for scammers.”
These figures led the head of the ACCC Gina Cass-Gottlieb to call upon banks to do “more” to prevent innocent Australians from losing their money.
“Financial institutions are in a unique position to help and more needs to be done to ensure banks are detecting and blocking scam transactions,” she said.
Scammers have considerably ramped up their efforts to steal from Australians through texts, calls, advertisements, and investment scams. They are not only focusing on stealing finances but also obtaining customers’ records, including identity information.