How to know if it’s a scam
How to tell the difference between scams and genuine contact from us.
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Current scam alerts
There are scams around all the time. We’ll let you know about current scams pretending to be from us through our news alerts and social media. You can also check ScamWatch for alerts on current scams.
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.
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:
- Services Australia
- Child Support
- other government agencies, like the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
Scammers may want your personal information, including your:
- Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN)
- date of birth
- myGov sign in details
- bank details
- identity details, such as your Medicare card
- credit card details.
They may also tell you to:
- pay fees or transfer money to get a payment or benefit, or pay back 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 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: 7 May 2020
This information was printed 14 July 2020 from https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/scams-and-identity-theft/how-know-if-its-scam. It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/site-notices when using this material.