The Department of Human Services is actively working to ensure its customers are informed about the growing threat of scams. There are many variations of scams. In general, most scams appear to involve:
- obtaining money or confidential information from customers (for example, disclosing their customer reference number, login details, bank details, Medicare card numbers etc.)
- asking customers to pay fees/transfer money to receive a Government bonus, payment or grant. The scammer usually requests money to be transferred overseas.
Four types of scams have recently appeared that may affect Department of Human Services customers. These are:
- Advance Payment scam
- Phone number scam
- Fraudulent investment scams
- Fake departmental payment scams
Advance Payment scam
What is this scam?
This scam occurs when a person is contacted by someone who claims to be from the Department and advises them to transfer money into a bank account in order to receive a lump sum payment.
How does this scam work?
- People are contacted by a scammer and asked to transfer money into a bank account to receive a government payment.
- They are given a phone number by the scammer to track the progress of their claim. The phone number is usually an Australian number.
- Upon calling this number, they are told by the scammer that they have called the Department and we are assisting with the payment process.
- When no money is transferred into the person’s account they are then told by the scammer who is incorrectly claiming to be from the Department that more money is required to receive the payment.
What can you do?
- Remember that we won’t ever ask you to transfer money to receive a lump sum payment.
- Never provide your credit card or bank details online or over the phone if you are unsure about the validity of the contact.
- Report scams to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) or call 1300 795 995.
Phone number scam
Customers should be aware of a new type of scam that has recently been identified.
This scam involves a scammer claiming to be from a telephone company calling customers and offering them a special deal because of the type of payment they receive from the Department. The scammer tells customers that they may lose their payment if they fail to transfer money to the scammer. The scammer will generally be calling from an international number.
What you can do?
Be wary of any unsolicited phone calls from international numbers, and if in doubt, hang up. The Department does not have any arrangements with telephone companies to offer special deals for customers receiving any payments.
Be cautious if you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the government. If you are concerned get that person’s contact details and phone back using your regular Department of Human Services contact number.
If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately. You can report scams to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) or call 1300 795 995.
Fraudulent investment scams
Serious and organised criminals are using the Internet to provide false legitimacy in their attempts to target the retirement savings of Australians, including superannuation. They are typically in the form of unsolicited cold calls used with sophisticated hoax websites to try to legitimise the scam.
The Department, in partnership with the Australian Crime Commission, is urging Australians to protect themselves against serious and organised fraudulent investment scams.
What you can do?
People can protect themselves by hanging up on any unsolicited suspicious calls they receive that are offering investment opportunities. People should thoroughly investigate and research any investment offer and:
- visit www.moneysmart.gov.au or call 1300 300 630 for further information
- alert family and friends to this fraud, especially anyone who may have savings to invest
- report suspected fraud to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, via www.moneysmart.gov.au or 1300 300 630, or your local police. Any information that can be provided such as company name, location and contact details will assist
- hang up on unsolicited telephone calls offering overseas or domestic investments
- check that any company you are discussing investments with has a valid Australian Financial Services Licence at www.moneysmart.gov.au
- always seek independent financial advice before making an investment.
- Australian Crime Commission website – Serious and organised fraudulent investment scams
Fake departmental payment scams
The Department has recently been alerted to a scam where a person, identifying themselves as being from the Department, advised a customer by phone that the customer was owed money. However, the customer needed to deposit cash vouchers into an account before the funds could be released.
Another variation has been identified, where a person posing as a departmental official has requested money to be transferred to them. They have claimed that, in return, the customer will receive call credits, refunds or be represented in legal proceedings.
What you can do?
Be cautious if you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the government. If you are concerned, get that person’s name and telephone them back using your regular Department of Human Services contact number.
The Department will never ask you to deposit money in order to receive a payment.
The Department may telephone, SMS or email you from time to time. If we do we will introduce ourselves clearly. We may have to ask you questions so that we can be sure we are talking to the correct person.
We will not:
- ask you to transfer money;
- ask you to provide passwords or PIN numbers to bank accounts;
Never transfer money to someone unless you made the contact using details you have found yourself and you trust the other party. If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
Customers using the Department's online services should also protect their information by keeping their login details private, regularly changing their password, and using up-to-date firewall and anti-virus software to protect their computer.
You can report scams to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) or call 1300 795 995.
For further detail on how to protect yourself from scams, please visit:
For fraud, theft or other crimes, please contact your local police station or the Australian Federal Police
For general information on scams, please visit: