Super scam attempts jump by over 200 per cent

Australians need to be super vigilant about keeping their hard earned savings from getting into the hands of scammers. We’re talking identity theft, phishing campaigns, and unauthorised access to super accounts.

In the past six months alone, Aware Super recorded a 208 per cent jump in the number of its members targeted by a scam. If Aware Super’s numbers are the same across all super funds in Australia, it means hundreds of thousands of us would have been targeted by scammers.

Super scams are just part of an increasingly sophisticated set of financial fraudsters. Last year the ACCC estimates we lost $2.7 billion to scammers.

Scammers and cybercriminals are becoming more brazen in the tactics they use to try to steal money. If you were to look at it from an opportunist’s perspective, stealing from super is a highly lucrative form of theft. 

There are hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting in super funds – savings accumulated over many years – that could be swiftly stolen. And it’s older Australians who are most at risk. 

Let’s take a look at how to identify a super scam and ways to protect yourself. 

What tactics do scammers use to try to get access to your superannuation?

Super scammers are likely to target you via email (phishing), phone or online through advertising on websites and social media. 

What are phishing super scams?

When a scammer sends a phishing email, they will pretend to be from your super fund. 

Phishing emails often have: 

  • spelling mistakes
  • unusual naming conventions in the links – which can be seen by hovering over them with your mouse (don’t click links)
  • incorrect branding/logos that don’t look quite right
  • a tone that signals a sense of urgency – they encourage you to take immediate action. 

Phishing emails are likely to ask for personal or your super account information and often contain a dodgy link. 

If you fall prey, there’s a high chance the scammer will be able to access your super. They can also create a super account or a fake SMSF in your name, transfer your money and then withdraw it. 

What are scams that promise you early access to your super?

For anyone experiencing financial difficulties, the promise of gaining early access to super could be enticing. Scammers will often take advantage of people who may not meet the condition of early release.  

Some of the tactics they use include: 

  • helping to fill out documents that involve you giving them personal information/identity documents
  • suggesting you transfer or roll over super into an SMSF so you can withdraw your super (while charging high fees or commissions)
  • assuring you that you’ll be able to access funds once the paperwork is submitted. 

There are consequences if you illegally access your super early. On top of potentially losing your retirement nest egg to the scammer, you may be required to pay additional tax, interest and penalties. 

Ways to secure yourself from super scams

Contact your fund: if approached by someone who claims to be from your super fund, phone the company to check if they’re a licensed financial adviser. Either refer to the contact number on a statement or look on the website. Do not click on any links within an email that may potentially take you to a fake site with false information. 

Check your super details: by regularly checking your balance and account details, it gives you the opportunity to flag any issues quickly. Look for any transfer requests or changes to personal details that you haven’t authorised. 

Increase security: use strong passwords that combine lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and special characters. Create a unique password – don’t be tempted to use the same password for all your logins. For an extra layer of security, consider using multifactor authentication. 

Always be vigilant about your life savings. If you’re being asked to share any personal information, that should be your first red flag. 

If you think you’ve been a target, always contact your super fund to let them know, report it to Scamwatch, and contact the ATO.

Have you been the subject of a super scam? Could the government be doing more? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Aussies using super for everything but its true purpose


  1. There are very strict regulations about transferring superannuation. For example you can only leave your super to your spouse. If super companies are allowed and facitate scams, the companies should held legal and financial responsibility.

  2. I have had a number of these emails, all reported, and I know they are scams as my mail filters do not put them in the correct folders.
    I then look at the Email Source, and take it from there.

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