Posted: 28 November, 2016
Thousands Of Australians Targeted In Welfare Theft Scam
Scammers have stolen more than $27,000 from victims by pretending to be from the Department of Human Services or Centrelink.
Scamwatch has received more than 2200 complaints about the scam since January.
“If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the Department of Human Services or Centrelink claiming that you are eligible for an increase in your pension or benefit - hang up,” Australian Competition and Consumer Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“The scammer will claim that you’ve been sent a letter about an increase in your benefits and not responded to it. They will then claim that your file has been sent to Canberra and that you can either go to Canberra to fill out the required form or you can pay a fee and have the forms sent to you.”
The scammers generally ask for payment via a wire transfer or iTunes cards.
Scamwatch has released the following tips for protecting yourself:
- If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from Centrelink and offering an increase in benefits, hang up.
- If you have any doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a government department, contact the department directly using independently sources details.
- Never give your personal or financial details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
- Any requests to send money via a gift card (such as iTunes) should be treated as highly suspicious as they are not considered a legitimate source of payment.
- Never send any money via wire transfer or any other means to anyone you do not know or trust.
Find out more.