It’s unfortunate that you, or someone you know, is likely to have been affected by a scam at some point. New scams are popping up all the time and scammers will often pretend to be from trusted brands like myGov, Centrelink, Child Support and Medicare.
I want you to know that Services Australia takes the protection of your personal information very seriously. We have strong security processes in place, including fraud detection systems, to protect you.
There are also things that you can do to protect yourself against scams.
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Identifying and reporting scams
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have already received emails, text messages or phone calls from people trying to scam you. The Australian government’s Scamwatch website – scamwatch.gov.au – tells us that scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels. There’s no one group of people that is more likely to become a victim of a scam. All of us may be vulnerable to a scam at some time.
Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it. Scammers are getting smarter and taking advantage of new technology, new products or services and major events to create believable stories that will convince you to give them your money or personal details.
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There are some signs to watch out for to help you spot a possible scam. These include:
- an unexpected email, text message or phone call
- a sense of urgency or an unreasonable deadline
- a promise you are owed money, or a threat of fines.
If you think you may have fallen victim to an agency-related scam or you think your identity has been stolen, we have a Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk that can offer support.
The helpdesk is available from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday to assist you with all Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support or myGov-related identity theft concerns. The helpdesk can be contacted on 1800 941 126.
Protecting yourself from pretenders
If you’ve been contacted by trusted brands such as Services Australia, you should always check that it’s the real deal.
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If you get a suspicious email or text message, just delete it. If you open it, don’t click on any links.
We won’t ask you to click on a link in an email or text message, except from within your official myGov inbox. Always access myGov by typing www.my.gov.au into your web browser.
There may be times when we need to contact you. However, if you are concerned, you can call one of our payment lines to check it’s genuine. Remember, only use our official phone numbers. You can find these on our website.
We’ll never ask you to:
- pay money to get a payment or benefit, or
- pay for our assistance, such as with setting up online accounts.
For more information about how to protect yourself, go to servicesaustralia.gov.au/scams
Hank Jongen is general manager, Services Australia.
Did you notice a jump in scam texts and calls over the Christmas/New Year period? Are they getting more difficult to discern? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?