23 February 2021
Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has officially begun, and as reported by the ABC, commentators are predicting an increase in vaccine related scams, including scams using fraudulent domain names and websites.
While stricter registration and validation requirements in the .au domain ensure that domain abuse such as phishing is well below the global average – all Internet users should be aware of potential scams and the steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of fraud being committed.
Seek information from trusted sources
It is important that you seek and rely on information from trusted sources.
For accurate and up-to-date information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, visit the Australian or state and territory government websites, such as www.health.gov.au. Verified Australian government websites have domain names ending in gov.au.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) ScamWatch provides tips to help people avoid falling victim to COVID-19 related scams. These include:
- Don’t click on hyperlinks in text/social media messages or emails, even if it appears to come from a trusted source
- Go directly to the website through your browser. For example, to reach the Department of Health’s website type ’health.gov.au’ into your browser yourself
- 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 — just press delete or hang up
- To verify the legitimacy of a contact, find them through an independent source such as a past bill or online search.
For more information on COVID-19 related scams and to report suspicious emails, calls or texts, visit ScamWatch.
Report suspicious .au domain names
If you spot a suspicious .au domain name, you can lodge a complaint at www.auda.org.au/au-domain-names/lodge-complaint.
The auDA Compliance team will review the domain name licence in line with our licensing rules. Domain name licences found to be non-compliant with our licensing rules will be removed from the registry.