The COVID-19 vaccine program has started rolling out in Australia, and so have the dirty scammers hoping to exploit it

Experts have said there are thousands of fraudsters preparing a rollout of their own, warning that they’ll look totally legit.

In the US and UK, people have been receiving texts and emails with dodgy links to vaccine information.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission confirmed it already had 16 reports of vaccine-related scams.

“It will look like a legitimate email coming from a government agency,” Michael Connory, a cyber security consultant, told ABC News.

However, many scammers will also call or text.

“That text will say something like: ‘Hi Michael, here is your COVID information’ with a link,” he said.

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“Now because you can’t really see the link in detail on the text, it’s much more likely that you will click on the link, and it will take you to a compromised website.”

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE. The first text is genuine, while the other was sent by scammers, during last year’s COVID outbreak.

Another scam doing the rounds is an offer from a fake Pfizer group to ‘jump’ the queue for $150.

“They’re going to say, ‘if you want to get the Pfizer vaccine rather than the AstraZeneca vaccine, then pay $150 and you can jump the queue’,” Mr Connory said.

“The reality is that there’s no jumping the queue.”

The best advice was to treat all communication with caution and that if it sounds too good to be true… it probably is.

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“We would recommend not trusting it, talk to your local doctor, go on to the Australian government’s [website], the DHS website, and have a look at what’s happening and how things are rolling out,” he said.

STILL NOT SURE?

WA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Andy Robertson said if people are getting very odd emails they can contact the 13-COVID number (13 268 43) and ask about it.

“We can provide information about whether that is a spurious email or whether it is the real thing.”

More info on current scams here.