Cyber Threat Alert: Beware of Scammers in the Wake of Natural Disasters

Natural disasters often bring out the best in our communities, with everyone banding together and willing to lend a helping hand. Unfortunately, it also tends to attract scammers and fraudsters.

We’ve outlined below just a few things to be mindful of during times of disaster.  

1. Fraudulent Donation Schemes:Be wary of unsolicited emails or social media messages claiming to represent disaster relief organisations. Scammers often exploit people’s generosity during crises, requesting donations for fake charities. Before contributing, verify the legitimacy of the organisation through official websites or trusted sources.

2. Phishing Emails and Websites:Criminals are highly adaptive and manipulative in such times, often posing as legitimate relief agencies or government organisations. Sophisticated phishing emails with malicious links to fake websites are often hard to spot and may appear genuine. Remember ‘break the chain’ and don’t follow links in emails – always refer to the published websites.

3. Fake Insurance Claims:Scammers may attempt to exploit the chaos by posing as insurance agents. Again, remember to ‘break the chain’ and contact your insurance provider directly using the official contact details to confirm the legitimacy of any communication.

4. Malicious Apps:Exercise caution when considering downloading any apps related to disaster updates or relief efforts. Cyber criminals may create fake apps that contain malware or steal personal information.

5. Social Engineering Tactics:Be cautious of individuals posing as contractors, utility workers, or government officials offering services. Always request identification and contact the relevant organisation to verify their legitimacy before allowing access to your property.

In times of crisis, our resilience is tested, not only physically but also digitally. By staying informed, and remaining vigilant, we can protect ourselves and our communities from falling victim to these scams.

Please share this blog to raise awareness among your network. Together, let’s build a safer and more resilient community.

Here are some articles from recent disasters that highlight some of the ways you can be scammed during these times: 

‘Unthinkable’ flood-related scams fleece victims of more than $50,000, authorities say | Australia news | The Guardian

– ‘Opportunistic grubs’: Vulnerable flood victims in Far North Queensland being targeted by scammers posing as licensed tradies | Sky News Australia

Flood affected areas on high alert for contractor scams – Far North (

Scam alert amid natural disaster in Australia | — Australia’s leading news site

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