Identify scams and stay safe

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

If you think you’ve been scammed, get help with a scam or report it.

Identify scams

Scammers may say they are from:

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

They may ask you for personal information, including your:

They may also ask you to:

  • pay fees or transfer money to get a benefit or pay back a debt
  • purchase gift cards or vouchers, such as an iTunes gift card
  • 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 know scammers can call pretending to be us. You should be cautious of unexpected phone calls claiming to be from us. Ask for the caller’s name and contact details. Then you can call us on 1 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
  • reminders regarding money you owe Centrelink and how to pay us back.

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'll 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 your regular payment line 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 sign in details private
  • protect your mobile device with a password, and set your device to lock after a short period
  • use a password that's easy for you to remember and hard to guess, and change it regularly
  • keep your computer networks and mobile devices secure with security software
  • secure your mailbox with a lock and redirect your mail when you move
  • be cautious about who you share your personal information with.

Always remember to:

  • keep your personal information hidden
  • hide details on your screen when using a computer or mobile device in public
  • be aware 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.

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Page last updated: 8 August 2019