Reporting fraud

If you suspect someone may be committing fraud against Centrelink, Medicare or Child Support, you should report it.

We know most people are honest and do the right thing. But there are a small number of people who:

  • get money they’re not eligible for
  • abuse the services we provide.

We have processes in place to find and prevent fraud. We focus on the most serious cases of non-compliance, not people who make an honest mistake.

If we think someone has committed fraud, we’ll investigate it.

How to report different types of fraud

If people do something dishonest to get a payment or benefit from us, they're committing fraud. We explain how to report any of these types of fraud:

If you think someone’s committing fraud, you should report it. You can do this in two main ways:

  • by filling out an online form
  • by phone.

When you report fraud you need to report it in the right place. There are different forms to report different types of fraud. Make sure you use the right one.

We keep everything you tell us confidential and you can give an anonymous tip-off online or on the phone.

To report fraud online, you should:

  • fill in as much of the form as possible
  • give specific answers, as this will help our review processes
  • tell us in the form if you don’t know the answers to some questions.

Welfare fraud

Welfare fraud may include when people do any of the following:

  • claim a welfare payment or service using a false identity or someone else’s identity
  • give us false or misleading information such as reporting less income than they earned
  • don’t give us information about something such as assets or income they've earned
  • don’t tell us they’re living with someone as a member of a couple
  • continue to get a welfare payment for a person who has died or left their care
  • don’t tell us they left Australia while getting a payment, either on a trip or to live.

To report welfare fraud, fill in the report a suspected fraud online form.

If you print the completed form for your own records, keep it safe and private.

Child support fraud

Child support fraud may include when people do any of the following:

  • make false or misleading statements
  • don’t tell us about income and assets, or under declare them
  • ask an employer to tell us someone doesn't work for them when they do regular paid work
  • claim a child is in their care when they’re not
  • use false names on documents such as statutory declarations, payslips or bank statements
  • employee and employer collusion.

Employee and employer collusion

This is when people try to disrupt, minimise or avoid making child support payments.

For example, Bob pays child support for his child. His employer agrees to pay him cash and not report his full income. This means Bob’s income looks less than it is. Bob is falsely reducing the amount of child support he pays. Bob and his employer have committed employee and employer collusion.

To report child support fraud, use the report fraud online form.

If you print the completed form for your own records, keep it safe and private.

Health fraud

People can commit fraud against our health programs in different ways. This may include when they do any of the following:

  • make Medicare claims for services they did not receive
  • use someone else's Medicare card
  • use an invalid concession card
  • forge prescriptions for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicine
  • take or send PBS medicine overseas that’s not for them or someone they’re travelling with.

If you think a health care provider is committing fraud, you can report it. Use the submit a health provider related tip-off form. You can find this online on the Department of Health website.

A health care provider could be a medical professional such as a doctor or pharmacist. Or it could be a medical practice or administrative staff.

If you think anyone else is committing fraud against our health programs, report this using the reporting suspected fraud form.

How to report fraud by phone

You can also report suspected fraud by calling our Fraud Tip-off Line. Find somewhere private and safe before you call. This will keep the information you provide confidential.

Only use this line to report individuals who are committing fraud.

What we do with reports about suspected fraud

Our specialist officers assess every fraud allegation.

Keep in mind, we can’t give you updates. This includes after you’ve made a report. For privacy reasons, we can’t give out any details about our activities.

We take all reports of suspected fraud seriously.

Sometimes you may not see changes to someone’s situation. The information you give us doesn't always result in a change in a person’s payment or service.

In some cases we may not take any further action. For example, we may find any of the following:

  • the person you name doesn’t get a payment or service
  • we can’t identify the person, usually because there isn’t enough detail in the tip-off
  • the information isn’t relevant to the payment or service the person gets
  • the information doesn’t match the person’s situation.

We know not all incorrect payments are because of fraud. Sometimes incorrect payments can come from a mistake. A mistake may include any of the following:

  • an accidental oversight
  • an error or misunderstanding when filling out forms
  • not providing us with all the information we need.

But even if there is a mistake, people must repay incorrect payments.

If we find enough evidence of criminal behaviour, we may take further steps. We may refer cases to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. This may lead to criminal charges and jail.

Page last updated: 8 January 2019