The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned Australians of a new scam involving Centrelink impostors trying to trick vulnerable victims into transferring money and disclosing sensitive personal and financial information.
Last month, more than 100 people called the ACCC to inform it of the scheme, in which scammers assume the identities of government workers from Centrelink and the Department of Human Services, then obtain the victim’s personal and financial details. Four people have been relieved of $3000 over the past six months.
Victims are told that the government owes them money and they can only receive it if they hand over their bank account details, personal information and a fee – which is said to be required or else Centrelink payments will be cut off.
Pensioners are not only tricked into potentially giving money away, but also falling victim to identity theft.
According to ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard, Department of Human Services (DHS) and Centrelink staff would not ask anyone to divulge this type of information over the phone, and she urged people to be vigilant in order to protect their financial security.
“If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from a government department and they claim that you are entitled to money, hang up,” said Ms Rickard.
“Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source. If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.”
If you’ve received one of these calls, report it to the ACCC on 1300 795 995 or visit the ACCC’s Scamwatch website.
Read more at The Daily Telegraph