Australians who have been impacted by the devastating floods that battered the countries east coast, now have something else to worry about – scammers.
As many begin cleaning up and picking up the pieces after their businesses and homes were destroyed, many have begun making insurance claims.
However, now there are reports of scammers trying to take advantage of those impacted by the floods.
Pumicestone MP Ali King said she received a text from an alleged scammer, claiming they would help with her insurance claim following the floods.
The only problem – she didn’t apply for a claim.
“I got a text today from someone assigned to help me with my insurance claim. I don’t have an insurance claim,” she said on social media.
Labor MP for Whitlam, Stephen Jones, also took to social media to slam the alleged scammer.
“We’ve seen the best of Australia in the huge outpouring of support for those affected by these devastating floods,” he said on Twitter.
“But scammers posing as insurance agents are looking to exploit people trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.”
An ACCC spokesperson told 7NEWS.com.au it was still early days and they were yet to see reports about scams related to the floods, but urged Australians to remain cautious.
How to protect yourself
The ACCC said Australians should take note of several things to protect themselves from scams:
- Don’t click on hyperlinks in text/social media messages or emails, even if it appears to come from a trusted source.
- Never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for personal or financial details, even if they claim to be a from a reputable organisation or government authority.
- To verify the legitimacy of a contact, find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
- Approach charity organisations directly to make a donation or offer support.
- Legitimate charities are registered – you check an organisation’s credentials on the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) website to see if they are a genuine charity.
- Never send money or give personal information, credit card details or online account details to anyone you don’t know or trust.
- If you are approached by a street collector, ask to see their identification. If you have any doubts about who they are, do not pay.
- If you are approached in person, ask the collector for details about the charity such as its full name, address and how the proceeds will be used.
- Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin.
Contact your bank if you think you have fallen victim to a scam and consider raising a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority if unsatisfied with the response.
Individuals who have been impacted can now also claim the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment which sits at a sum of $1000 per adult and $400 per child.
For more information on the disaster support and to check eligibility and apply, click here
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