Examples of scams

Scammers may contact you by email, text messages, social media, phone, post or in person. They may also create fake websites, emails and text messages.

What identity theft scams look like

Identity theft scams try to trick you into giving your personal information. Scammers use your personal details to get money or commit fraud.

Scammers make contact pretending to be from us. They may contact you by email, text message, social media, phone or post. They may ask you to confirm your details by opening an internet link or responding with personal information.

We'll never ask you to click on links or attachments, except for links:

Text message scams

Scammers may send you a text message saying we’ve stopped your payments until you verify your details. Messages may also say your government online account details, such as your myGov details, are incorrect. The scammer will ask you to click on an internet link in the message to upload personal documents.

We won't ask you to click on internet links in a text message to upload documents.

What to do

Don't click on links pretending to be from us. Call or email our Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk to report it and then delete the message.

Phone scams

Phone scammers may call you to tell you that you have a Centrelink debt. They threaten you with legal action or arrest if you don’t pay. Some other common signs of a scam are a:

  • recorded message
  • request to 'press 1'
  • scammer pretending to transfer the call to the police
  • scammer pretending to be a police officer.

What to do

If you’re not sure if a call is from us, hang up straight away. You should phone us on one of our payment lines to check if a call was from us.

Rebate scam

A scammer pretending to work for us may ask you to pay a fee or give your bank account details. In return, they'll say you'll get a one-time payment. When you don’t get the payment, the scammer tells you they need more money.

We won't ask you to transfer money to get a payment.

What to do

If a scammer pretending to work for us asks you for a payment, you should:

  • contact your financial institutions immediately, if you have given up your bank details
  • call or email our Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk if you've given the scammer money or personal information
  • report it to ScamWatch.

Gift card or voucher scam

Scammers may call you saying any of the following:

  • your government payment has increased
  • we owe you money
  • you have a debt with us.

In these scams, the scammer tells you to buy gift cards or vouchers, such as iTunes gift cards or Google Play cards. They then ask you to tell them the serial number on the gift card.

We won't ask you to buy gift cards or vouchers.

What to do

If this happens, you should:

  • call or email our Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk if you've given the scammer money or personal information
  • report it to ScamWatch.

What malware or ransomware scams look like

Scammers may pretend to be from a well-known organisation. They aim to trick you into installing malicious software also known as ‘malware’ onto your computer. Malware can let scammers access your files, steal your personal information and track what you’re doing.

Ransomware is a form of malware that demands a payment to fix a problem to unlock your computer or files.

We won't ask you for money to release your information or fix your account.

What to do

Don't download anything they tell you to. If you’ve already done this, disconnect from the internet immediately.

If this happens, you should:

  • call or email our Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk if you've given the scammer money or personal information
  • report it to ScamWatch.

Page last updated: 2 September 2021