Identify scams and stay safe

How to tell the difference between scams and genuine contact from us, and ways to stay safe online.

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. Call us on a payment line or connect with us on social media if you’re not sure or need help.

Identify scams

Scammers may say they are from:

  • the Department of Human Services
  • Centrelink
  • Medicare
  • Child Support
  • myGov, or
  • other government agencies

They may ask you:

  • for personal information, such as your Centrelink Customer Reference Number, address, log on details, bank details, passwords, identity documents or Medicare card details
  • to pay fees or transfer money to get a benefit or pay back a debt
  • to purchase gift cards or vouchers, such as an iTunes gift card
  • to give them access to your computer

If a scammer has your information, they may use the details to:

  • misuse your identity to commit fraud or other crimes
  • use your credit card
  • access your accounts, including bank accounts
  • scam your friends and family

Identify if it’s really us

We do contact you by phone, but you should be cautious of unexpected phone calls claiming to be from us. You can ask for the caller’s name and contact details, then call us on one of our payment lines to check.

We use electronic messaging to send you important information from us by email or SMS. Our messages won’t contain your name or contact details, but may include:

  • requests and reminders to attend appointments
  • notification of payments
  • confirmation of changes to your details
  • notification of a new letter in your myGov Inbox or Centrelink letters online

If you get a suspicious email or SMS claiming to be from us:

  • don’t open it
  • don’t click on any links, or
  • don’t respond to the sender

We’ll never ask you to reply by email or SMS to any electronic message we send you.

Our officers will only visit your home after setting a time with you in advance. They will have photo identification, which you can ask to see. You don’t have to let them in, and they must leave if you ask them to.

You can call us on one of our payment lines to confirm their identity.

Keep your personal information safe

To protect your personal information:

  • know that scams exist
  • be cautious of uninvited contact
  • keep your log-on details private
  • protect your mobile device with a password, and set your device to lock after a short period
  • use a password that is hard for others to guess, and change it regularly
  • keep your computer networks and mobile devices secure with security software

Always remember to:

  • keep your personal information hidden when using a computer or mobile device in public
  • beware of unexpected emails, SMS, social media messages, and pop-up windows, and don’t open links
  • sign out of your online accounts and close the browser

Read about Get help with a scam or report it.

Page last updated: 21 November 2017