Scams

Learn how to protect yourself against the growing threat of scams.

We are warning customers to be aware of the growing threat of scams.

There are many types of scams. Most scams appear to involve:

  • obtaining money or confidential information from you; for example, disclosing your customer reference number, log on details, bank details, Medicare card numbers, and
  • asking you to pay fees or transfer money to receive a government bonus, payment or grant. The scammer usually requests money to be transferred overseas

There are 6 types of scams identified that may affect you:

  1. email scam
  2. advance payment scam
  3. phone number scam
  4. fraudulent investment scam
  5. departmental payment scam
  6. guaranteed employment scam

Email scam

Emails from us do not include hyperlinks.

This scam involves an email being sent to you claiming to be from us. The email asks you to validate your email address by clicking on a link.

This email is not from us.

What to do

Do not open the link.

Delete the email immediately.

If you have clicked on the link and entered your details, you should contact us.

Advance payment scam

We will never ask you to transfer money to receive a lump sum payment.

This scam occurs when you are contacted by someone and asked to transfer money into a bank account in order to receive a lump sum payment. The person asking claims to be our employee.

You are given a phone number by the scammer to track the progress of your claim. The phone number is usually an Australian number. Upon calling this number, you are told by the scammer that they have called us and we are assisting with the payment process.

When no money is transferred into your account, you are then told by the scammer, who is fraudulently claiming to be our employee, that more money is required to receive the payment.

What to do

We will never ask you to transfer money to receive a lump sum payment.

Do not 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.

Report cyber related scams to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

Phone number scam

We do not have any arrangements with telephone companies to offer special deals if you receive a payment from us.

This scam involves a scammer claiming to be from a telephone company calling you and offering you a special deal because of the type of payment you receive from us. The scammer tells you that you may lose your payment if you fail to transfer money as instructed. The scammer will generally be calling from an international number.

What to do

Be wary of any unsolicited phone calls from international numbers, and if in doubt, hang up. We do not have any arrangements with telephone companies to offer special deals if you receive a payment from us.

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 one of our advertised phone numbers.

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 scam

Always seek independent financial advice before making an investment.

This scam involves serious and organised criminals 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.

We are working with the Australian Crime Commission to combat this activity and we urge you to protect yourselves against these fraudulent investment scams.

What to do

You can protect yourself by hanging up on any unsolicited suspicious calls you receive that offer investment opportunities. You should thoroughly investigate and research any investment offer, as well as:

  • visit the MoneySmart website or call 1300 300 630 for information about current investment scams
  • alert family and friends to this type of fraud, especially anyone who may have savings to invest
  • report suspected fraud to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, via MoneySmart website or 1300 300 630, or your local police. Any information you can provide, 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 the MoneySmart website
  • always seek independent financial advice before making an investment

More information

You can also visit the Australian Crime Commission website to find information about serious and organised investment scams.

Departmental payment scam

We will never ask you to deposit money in order to receive a payment. If you feel threatened, record as much detail of the event as you can and contact your local police as soon as possible.

This scam involves:

  • a person calling you and identifying themselves as our employee, advising you that we owe you money but asking you to transfer money into a bank account in order to receive your lump sum payment, or
  • a person posing as an employee requesting money to be transferred to them. In return they claim you will receive call credits, refunds or be represented in legal proceedings, or
  • a door to door scam by people claiming to be from training organisations representing themselves as government employees or claiming association with certain payments and services, such as those from Centrelink or Medicare. The scammers may say they are offering low income earners some training. They may try to take photos of your personal information such as your passport, customer reference number, birth certificate or driver’s licence

Remember scammers can use your personal information to steal your money and identity.

What to do

We will never ask you to deposit money in order to receive a payment.

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 one of our advertised phone numbers.

If someone comes to your door, ask to see their identification. You do not have to let them in. Contact us to confirm their information.

If you feel threatened, record as much detail of the event as you can and contact your local police as soon as possible.

Guaranteed employment scam

We will never ask you to deposit money in order to receive a payment or to secure an enrolment in a departmental approved course.

This scam involves the advertising of high paying jobs on a public website.

Our customers, particularly jobseekers, are deliberately being targeted. The advertisement suggests that you will secure employment once you pay a deposit for a course. However, the course does not exist.

If you are being targeted, you will receive a number of emails relating to fake jobs and information about course details. You will at some stage be asked to pay a deposit into a specified bank account. Communication stops if you make a payment.

What to do

We will never ask you to deposit money in order to receive a payment or to secure enrolment within an endorsed course.

Beware of job offers that require you to pay an upfront fee.

Do not send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.

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 one of our advertised phone numbers.

More information

Read more about income scams on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission SCAMwatch website.

Protect yourself

We may telephone, SMS or email you from time to time. If we do we will introduce and identify ourselves clearly. We may have to ask you questions so that we can be sure we are talking to the correct person.

We will never ask you to:

  • transfer money, or
  • 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 someone comes to your door, ask to see their identification. You do not have to let them in and they must leave if you ask them to.

  • contact us if you are unsure about an offer or person’s identity
  • warn your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours about the scam
  • be aware and support those in the community who may be vulnerable to such methods
  • don't give out personal information about your credit card, banking details or superannuation fund unless you can verify that you are giving it to a trusted source
  • don't agree to any offer involving a significant amount of money, time or commitment - seek independent advice first
  • report this scam to the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502 or Report a scam on the SCAMwatch website or the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN)

If you feel threatened, write down as much detail of the event as you can and contact your local police as soon as possible.

If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

Customers using our online services should also protect their information by keeping their logon details private, regularly changing their password, and using up-to-date firewall and antivirus software to protect their computer.

You can report scams to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) or call 1300 795 995 or the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

More information

Read more about how to protect yourself from scams on the:

For fraud, theft or other crimes, please contact your local police station or the Australian Federal Police.

This information was printed from humanservices.gov.au It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.