How to know if it’s a scam

How to tell the difference between scams and genuine contact from us.

Active scams

There are scams around all the time. We’ll let you know about active scams pretending to be from us through our news alerts and social media. You can also check the Scamwatch website for alerts on current scams not related to us.

Signs of a scam

There are many different types of scams. You can read general information about scams on the Scamwatch website.

Most scams are attempts to get your personal or financial details. Scammers then use these details to steal money or commit fraud or identity theft. They may steal directly from you, or use your details to commit other crimes.

Scams can look genuine and it can be difficult to tell when something is fake. However, there are some common signs that something may be a scam, including:

  • the email, text or phone call is unexpected
  • there’s a deadline or sense of urgency
  • there’s a promise of financial benefit or a threat of fines, debts or jail.

If you’ve clicked on a suspicious link or given your personal information to a scammer, call our Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk. Our staff will support you with advice about protecting your personal information.

You can email us to report a scam related to myGov or Services Australia, including Centrelink, Medicare or Child Support.

Watch this video about how to identify and report a scam.

Scams work by deception

Scammers often pretend to be from trusted organisations, including from us. They may pretend to be from any of the following:

  • myGov
  • Services Australia
  • Centrelink
  • Medicare
  • Child Support
  • other government agencies, like the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Scammers may want your personal information, including your:

They may also tell you to:

  • pay fees or transfer money to get a payment or benefit, or repay a debt
  • upload copies of your identity documents
  • buy gift cards or vouchers, such as an iTunes gift card
  • give them remote 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
  • access your online accounts, including your bank accounts or your myGov account
  • use your credit card
  • scam your friends and family.

There are steps you can take to reduce the risks of scams or identity theft. Read more about how to protect against scams.

Read more about examples of scams pretending to be from us.

Page last updated: 19 March 2024.
QC 60286