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8 June 2020

Watch out for scams during COVID-19: here’s how to protect yourself

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant we’re all spending extra time online as we study, connect and stay informed. Unfortunately, however, there has also been a rise in cybercriminal activity that targets particular groups, including students. According to Scamwatch, cybercriminals intentionally use emergencies such as COVID-19 to encourage feelings of fear to force people to make decisions quickly.

As a student, you should be especially cautious of potential scams in any unsolicited or unexpected communications you receive. These communications can be sophisticated and may look legitimate in appearance.

We’ve recently had multiple reports of scammers posing as representatives of either Deakin or the police who are targeting students – particularly international students – for large sums of money. These students have been contacted directly and asked for sums as large as $100,000.

Deakin will never contact students directly, or through agents in China, to ask you for money. The police will also never ask someone to pay money in exchange for a guarantee of not prosecuting them in Australia. 

If you receive an email or SMS with this kind of request, it is a scam.

Worried about a dodgy-looking email or link? Here’s what to do

If you receive a university-related email you’re unsure about – whether it’s from someone you don’t know, the details appear incorrect, or the email address looks odd – do not click on any links or attachments in the email

Immediately report the email to Deakin’s cybersecurity team via the ‘Phish Alert’ toolbar in your Outlook window. If you’re not using Outlook, forward the email to [email protected]

There are no consequences for reporting a legitimate email, so remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry. And don’t be embarrassed to report any suspicious activity – your experience may help prevent another student from being scammed.

Find out more about link safety and why you should think before you click

How to stay safe online

More information and help

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