Australians are being warned of a new COVID-19 phone scam.
People are receiving calls from scammers claiming to be health officials, saying they’ve come into close contact with someone who has tested positive to the virus.
They are then asked to pay for a $50 at-home test and provide their address and bank account details.
Marella Harris, who lives in Hoxton Park in Sydney’s west, was targeted by the scam on July 16, but having been in the health care industry for 40 years, she was immediately sceptical.
“I have been assisting with the COVID-19 crisis and I knew darn well they don’t send the test kits out and they are free,” Ms Harris said.
‘”So I just gave them a fake address and went on with the call.”
She said one woman she has since spoken to on Facebook was duped and was sent fake at home tests containing two swabs and instructions on how to collect her sample.
When she mailed it off, her results came back as inconclusive.
Australians have already lost $2.4 million to COVID-19 scams.
Many of the grifts are based overseas, making it near-impossible to track down the culprits.
This latest one started in the UK.
And one expert has warned it’s only going to get worse.
“Once (we are) close to a vaccination, you are going to be receiving the same kind of scams offering you vaccinations that do not work, and that will be even scarier,” University of Western Sydney professor of cyber security Alana Maurushat said.
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