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:
- immediately call our department’s Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk or connect with us on social media
- write down as much information about the scam as possible
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Updates about current scams
We tell you about current scams on our website and our social media channels.
- read about the types of scams pretending to be from us
- keep up to date with scams and other news
- connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to ask questions and stay up to date with the latest scams
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.