Get help with a scam or report it

Current scams, what to do and how to report it.

Actions to take if you’ve been scammed

We know there are many scams pretending to be from us. Scam emails, websites, SMS, social media messages, phone calls, and letters can look or sound very convincing.

If you gave personal information to a scammer pretending to be us, you should:

Call us if you gave personal information to a scammer, including your:

  • identity documents
  • Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN)
  • name and date of birth
  • Medicare card number
  • sign in details, or
  • bank account details

Also call us if you’ve:

  • paid money to a suspected scammer
  • bought gift cards or vouchers for a suspected scammer
  • downloaded fake apps or visited websites pretending to be official department apps and sites

Current scams

Scammers may contact you by email, SMS, social media, phone, post or in person. At the moment, we're aware of 3 main types of scams pretending to be from us.

Money scams

Money scams may try to convince you that:

  • we owe you money
  • you need to pay back a debt
  • you can get a benefit or service from us

We will never ask you for money to get a payment or benefit.

We will send you a letter if you owe us money.

Examples

Upfront payment and rebate scam

A scammer pretending to work for us asks you to pay a fee or give your bank account details. In return, they'll say you'll get a one time payment. When you don’t get the payment, the scammer tells you they need more money.

What to do

You should:

  • call us if you've given the scammer money or personal information, or
  • report them to ScamWatch if you identified it as a scam before giving them money or information
We will never

We won't ask you to transfer money to get a payment.

Age pension calculator scam

This scam is usually on social media, and has a link to an Age Pension calculator. If you use the calculator, they may charge a fee to your mobile phone account without your permission.

What to do

You should contact your phone provider to stop the subscription.

We will never

We won't ask you to click on internet links, except for links we use in our official social media accounts.

Gift card or voucher scam

The scammer calls you saying:

  • your government payment has increased
  • we owe you money, or
  • you have a debt with us

The scammer tells you to buy gift cards or vouchers, such as iTunes gift cards. They then ask you to tell them the validation number on the gift card. They may ask to visit your home to collect the gift cards or vouchers and give you your payment.

What to do

You shouldn't follow instructions to buy a gift card or voucher such as iTunes.

We will never

We won't:

  • ask you to buy gift cards or vouchers
  • visit your home to give you a payment

Telephone company scam

A scammer claims to be from a telephone company. They offer you a special deal based on your government payment. They may call from an international or Australian number. The scammer says you can lose your payment or lose internet access unless you transfer money.

What to do

You should be wary of unexpected phone calls and if in doubt, hang up.

We will never

We won't arrange with companies to offer you special deals.

Identity theft or phishing scams

Identity theft or phishing scams try to trick you into giving your personal information. Scammers use your personal details to get money or commit fraud.

Scammers may contact you by email, SMS, social media message, phone or post pretending to be from us. They may ask you to validate your details by opening an internet link or responding with personal information.

We'll never ask you to:

  • give us personal information by email, SMS or social media
  • click on internet links or open attachments, except for links we use in our official social media accounts

Examples

SMS scams

A scammer pretending to work for us asks you to click on internet link and give personal information.

You may get an SMS message saying we have stopped your payments until you verify your details. Messages may also say your government online account details, such as myGov, are incorrect. The scammer will ask you to click on an internet link in the message to upload personal documents.

What to do

Don't click on links. Delete the message.

We will never

We won't ask you to click on internet links in an SMS and upload documents.

Subsidy benefit scam

This scam says you’re eligible for a subsidy benefit. You may get an email asking you to reply with personal details to confirm your eligibility. These emails can look convincing, and often include our logo.

What to do

Don't click on links. Delete the message.

We will never

We won't ask you to click on internet links in an email.

Training organisation scam

This scam says the training organisation is associated with a payment or service managed by us. They may mention the Department of Human Services, Centrelink or Medicare.

They may offer training or other services, such as building resumes for low income earners to improve your job prospects.

They may also try to take photos or request copies of your personal information, such as your passport, CRN, birth certificate or drivers licence.

What to do

You should check the validity of the caller.

We will never

We won't ask training organisations to contact you on our behalf.

Malware or ransomware scams

Malware or ransomware scammers may pretend to be from an organisation. They aim to trick you into loading malicious software also known as ‘malware’ onto your computer. Malware can access your computer and steal your personal information. They may ask you to pay them to fix the problem they created, to unlock your computer or files.

What to do

Don't download anything they tell you. If you already have, disconnect from the internet immediately.

We will never

We won't:

  • ask you for money to release your information or fix your account
  • ask organisations to ask you for money, or
  • offer you special deals

Updates about current scams

We tell you about current scams on our website and our social media channels.

You can:

Other help

There are a range of organisations that provide support services and useful information.

IDCARE is a free national identity support service. Contact them if you think your personal or identity information has been misused.

ScamWatch gives information about all types of scams.

Stay Smart Online provides information about online scams and how you can protect yourself when online.

Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network is a national government policing initiative for people to report and avoid cybercrime.

MoneySmart provides information on investment, superannuation, managed fund, financial advice and insurance scams.

Read about Identify scams and stay safe.

Page last updated: 18 July 2018