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Hundreds of cyber attacks aimed at accessing bushfire funds, says Red Cross

He said the Red Cross was also sorting through a number of suspicious applications for bushfire support, with police notified in some cases.

In other cases, the organisation continued to work with the applicant to try to verify that they were affected by the bushfires.

The RFS watches the Gospers Mountain fire in December last year.

The RFS watches the Gospers Mountain fire in December last year.Credit:Nick Moir

“We’ve had a very large number of applications that are either suspicious or we’ve been unable to verify the information that people have given us,” Mr Clement said.

“Where we identify that there is fraudulent intent, we have been referring those to police.

“We intend to go back through more of those applications to determine if more of them should be referred.”

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From the $216 million raised from donations, about $83 million in assistance has been paid out to more than 4000 people so far.

The bulk of the funds – $64 million – have gone to people in NSW, which Mr Clement said reflected requests for assistance.

He pledged that the funds held by the Red Cross would go to bushfire-affected communities after the charity faced criticism over the slow rollout of donations and for setting aside money for a three-year recovery program.

“We will provide support to communities with those funds,” Mr Clement said.

He said one of the biggest challenges in distributing the funds was a lack of access to good information to verify the people the Red Cross paid were affected by the fires.

He said even identifying those people was an issue, as there was no single or shared list for people whose homes had been destroyed or damaged.

AAP

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