Be vigilant amid scammers

SWAN Hill police are yet to receive any reports of COVID-19 related scams, but are urging the community to be vigilant.

A number of scams have begun to make the rounds in other areas of the state, from a text message with a link on 'where to get tested' that installs malicious software on your phone and calls from people purporting to be from Medicare asking for banking details, to online stores selling fake vaccines or personal protection products which are never delivered.

Senior Sergeant Brad Bennett said police had not yet received reports of scams locally, but urged the community to look out for each other and be aware of scammers trying to take advantage of the ongoing health crisis.

"No reports of scams at this stage, but that will come," he said.

"People need to be vigilant and be careful of price gouging...don't let people rip vulnerable people off.

"None of that should be happening."

With the panic-buying trend persisting across the state, Snr-Sgt Bennett urged people to be wary of purchases, and also to keep commonsense in mind while shopping in store.

He also called on residents to curb the ongoing trend and act in a respectful manner.

"Stop panic buying, there is enough to go around, just do as normal and have a bit of courtesy for other people," he said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also urged vigilance, with reports of scams "starting to climb" as scammers play on people's fears.

Scamwatch has received multiple reports of phishing scams sent via email or text message that claim to be providing official information on coronavirus but are attempts to try and obtain personal data.

"Unfortunately, scammers are using the uncertainty around COVID-19, or coronavirus, to take advantage of people," ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

Other scams include people receiving misinformation about cures for coronavirus and investment scams claiming coronavirus has created opportunities to make money.

"We've had a wide variety of scams reported to us, including fake online stores selling products claiming to be a vaccine or cure for coronavirus, and stores selling products such as face masks and not providing the goods," Ms Rickard said.

"There is no known vaccine or cure for coronavirus and a vaccine isn't expected to be available for 18 months. Do not buy any products that claim to prevent or cure you of COVID-19. They simply don't exist.

"Scammers are impersonating official organisations such as the World Health Organization and the Department of Health or legitimate businesses such as travel agents and telecommunications companies."