Centrelink impersonation scam calls

16 February 2021

These scam calls tell you to urgently pay a debt. They say that if you don’t pay it straight away you’ll be arrested.

You might recently have received a call claiming to be from Services Australia. Often, the callers claim to be from our legal team. They will tell you that you have a debt. They’ll also claim:

  • if you don’t pay it straight away, you’ll be arrested
  • you can pay through a bank transfer, gift cards or cryptocurrency.

This call is a scam. There’s a few signs to look out for if you get a call like this:

  • we’ll never ask you to transfer money on the phone
  • we won’t make unexpected phone calls threatening to arrest you
  • we also won’t ask you to pay with gift cards or digital currency
  • if you do owe money, we’ll write to you via post or your myGov inbox to let you know.

If you receive this call, hang up and remember:

  • don’t return the call
  • don’t transfer money to the caller
  • don’t give the caller your personal details.

If you get a call like this, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and report the scam. If you’re unsure, you should phone us on your normal payment line to check if it was us.

Scams can be hard to pick. If you’re worried you’ve given personal details to a scammer, we can help. You should call or email the Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk straight away if you’re concerned about a call you’ve received.

If you’ve been overpaid and have a debt, we will sometimes call or text to let you know. However, we’ll always write to you by post or your myGov inbox to let you know about your debt. If you’re not sure if a call about a debt is legitimate, phone us on your regular payment line to check.

Next steps

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Page last updated: 3 March 2022