Get help with a scam or report it

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

Current scams

Scammers may contact you by email, SMS, social media, phone, post or in person. There are 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. If you’re concerned about a request to pay us money, call us on one of our payment lines.

Examples

Upfront payment and advanced fee scam

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

What to do
  • call us on one of our payment lines to check if the call is a scam
We will never
  • 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
  • contact your phone provider to stop the subscription
We will never

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, and tell them the validation number. They may ask to visit your home to collect the gift cards or vouchers and to give you your payment.

What to do
  • do not follow instructions to purchase a gift card or voucher such as iTunes
We will never
  • 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, and offers 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
  • be wary of unexpected phone calls
  • if in doubt, hang up
We will never
  • 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, which scammers then use to get money or commit fraud.

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

We will 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 that 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
  • do not click on links
  • delete the message
We will never
  • 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
  • do not click on links
  • delete the message
We will never
  • 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 the Department of Human Services, Centrelink or Medicare. The training organisation may:

  • offer training or other services, such as building resumes for low income earners to improve your job prospects
  • try to take photos or request copies of your personal information, such as your passport, Centrelink Customer Reference Number, birth certificate or drivers licence
What to do
  • check the validity of the caller
We will never
  • ask training organisations to contact you on our behalf

Malware or ransomware scams

Malware or ransomware scammers may pretend to be from an organisation, and 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 also ask you to pay them to fix the problem they created, to unlock your computer or files.

What to do
  • do not download anything they tell you
  • if you already have, disconnect from the internet immediately
We will never
  • ask you for money to release your information or fix your account, ask organisations to ask you for money, or offer you special deals

What to do

If you think it’s a scammer

If someone contacts you claiming to be us and you think it’s suspicious, record the details and call us on one of our payment lines or connect with us on social media.

If you have been scammed

If you gave personal information and think you’ve been scammed, you should immediately:

  • call us for Centrelink, Medicare, and Child Support enquiries
  • call us for myGov enquiries
  • seek help from local police if you feel threatened
  • alert your bank if you have given out your account details

If you want 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 you may contact 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: 23 November 2017