The Meeting Place

Is Centrelink trying to trick pensioners?

In the YourLifeChoices office, we received this interesting email from a reader who wished to remain anonymous:

Just thought members might be interested in a Centrelink tactic which may see people being denied benefits. Usually when I receive a call with no caller ID I don't answer it or if I do and there is silence I also hang up. Centrelink are calling customers with NO caller ID and a delay when answering. When they finally speak they ask if you are "so and so" and expect you to say yes. THEY DO NOT IDENTIFY THEMSELVES until you ask who they are. Surely, they could have a caller ID that just has Centrelink as their identification.”

Have you encountered this before? Do you think it is a deliberate tactic?

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I don't think any government dept will use such trickery. This is a scam hitting the US.

The scam involves customers receiving a call where the caller says “Can you hear me?” often multiple times.

The natural reaction is for people to say ‘yes’ at which point the scammer hangs up as they have received their objective – a voice recording of the victim saying ‘yes’.

They then allegedly use that recording to authenticate illegal purchases.

 

Sorry, but this DOES occur, and a very similar thing has happened to me. Centrelink made a huge error with my part pension and were constantly trying to sort it out. I only live 2kms from their office, so was going in to help fix up the mess. One day I received almost the same call as above. Call came in, no phone number stated. I normally don't answer unknown calls but was waiting for a Dr's surgery to ring to tell me to pick up a script for my aunt. I answered "hello". Caller said " to whom am I talking to?". I replied "may I ask who is calling please?" After all, they had rung me. I NEVER  say my name unless I know who I am talking with. Again, this is a scammers dream, to get you name. Again they said "we need to know we are talking to the right person". I politely answered that I was not comfortable giving out any details unless I knew who it was, at which they hung up. On my next visit to CL, I said I was disappointed that I had still not received a response regarding my part pension problem. I was then stunned when she looked at her computer screen saying they had attempted to phone me, but could not reach me. When I checked the time of the call, lo and behold the 'mystery' call had been from CL. When I complained about this, she told me they never show a phone number, and must know who they are talking to before they identify where they are from. 'So we know we are talking to the right person', I was told. Also, if you do not answer, they do not leave a message. Firstly, I was not expecting them to ring me. Secondly, it appears you have to be available to take their unknown call 24/7. I complained about this, but of course got nowhere. I have been to plenty of fraud & security talks, where it is constantly stated to never offer any ID information to anyone you do not know. If this is the way Government Departments are going, then it is wrong. 

Never had any dealings with Centrelink myself, but if this happened to you then the department must be grossly inefficient. No one can be expected to sit by a phone all day for a call. Would suggest though, they may have tried to call you when a scammer was also calling you, hard to know. Got this off the internet –

https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/subjects/scams-and-identity-theft/how-know-if-its-scam 

My advice to anyone is try to get out of the habit of answering “yes” to anyone over the phone, this scam is real and prevalent around the world.

 

older & wiser is correct, they always call with No Caller Id and do ask your name, etc. This matches the definition in your link, Reagan, of a scam call, as it is an unexpected phone call, and they ask for your full name (then maybe other details such as your address, etc).

So, yes, this practice is there, and such nonsensical behaviour from this authoritarian, nasty (Robo-debt example) organisation will not change until there is a new culture there which won't happen till their $7Mil CEO is replaced by a real human.

 

Sounds about right. No id no answer for me.

I wonder if any others have received such a call. The media don't normally produce such a report unless it has been verified from at least two independent sources. My question to Ben is whether he took the time to check this anonymous email or if he just wanted to fill a gap. Reagan is correct regarding callers just wanting a "yes" response to try and authenticate illegal purchases and this scam has been aired in this forum some years ago. You can do better than this Ben.

I've had centrelink call about an application I had sent in months before. The female caller phoned and said she was from Human Services and wanted to speak with me. She then wanted to ID me over the phone which I understand they want to talk to the correct person BUT obviously I didn't know who she was for sure. I asked what was it about and she said she couldn't tell me anything until I was ID'd. If she had said it was about an application for a Health Care Card I'd know she was genuine but she wouldn't do that.

Seems crazy to call people for information and straight up ask for you full name, date of birth and address, something you shouldn't just tell anyone who calls.

Scammers are now not using private numbers and many private numbers are now either hopitals, doctors or government departments. 

If you have been cold called there is de lay as they find someone to take your call. If people have an overseas accent I ask them to speak slower and clearly. Scammers wont do this but genuine callers will. 

Anoterh trick is to have a false date of birth. If they accept it you have a scammer but if tehy are genuine they will tell you it is wrong. You can then ask them questions to identify themselves before you give them any correct information unless you recognise the caller. 

Scammers are now not using private numbers and many private numbers are now either hopitals, doctors or government departments. 

If you have been cold called there is de lay as they find someone to take your call. If people have an overseas accent I ask them to speak slower and clearly. Scammers wont do this but genuine callers will. 

Anoterh trick is to have a false date of birth. If they accept it you have a scammer but if tehy are genuine they will tell you it is wrong. You can then ask them questions to identify themselves before you give them any correct information unless you recognise the caller. 

"Speak slowly" "false date of birth"  "ask them questions" - wow verycaring bear, you must have a lot of tme on your hands, why not just hang up?

 

Never give any thing to a stranger,,,,,only when you call them eg: Testra, electricity etc

 

I also don't answer no caller ID unless I'm expecting a call. If I do pick up and there is a delay I hang up.

Landline & Mobile. Trust no-one that's my policy

Centerlink never call you, they will send a letter either in the post or email. You need to attend an office or call them.

veggie - totally incorrect. To say they 'never' call you is totally false. 

I have had about half a dozen calls from Centrelink lately.  They all came from private numbers.  Presumably if I hadn't answered, they would have mailed, but given the glacial slowness of them responding to issues, that would have slowed things even further. Sometimes it is very urgent that the matters they raise are attended to.  Important matters delayed eventually do become urgent.   It's annoying, but part of the process. The more switched on scammers all now show a local number. The Indian accents are normally a give away, but of course government departments also hire Indians.

I never pick up a call from 'Overseas' or 'Private' numbers - that's it.  If they want to contact me, they can leave a number for me to call them back on, but I always verify that they are who they say they are by contacting the business/department they say they are calling from. 

I find this Centrelink information confusing ... why a private number?

Wondered if the page I originally encoutered was genuine so I tried checking, went to Centrelink first, searched for "Phone appointment for your Newstart Allowance claim" and ended up on the same page. Perhaps the YLC admin team could investigate the "private number" issue.

See the page on link below. Text from page copied after link.

https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/newstart-allowance/how-claim/phone-appointment

Phone appointment

As part of your Newstart online claim you’ll book a phone appointment with us.

You need to make sure you answer this call, so please check the date and time. The call will come from a private number.

--------------------

Found ditto phone appointment call back information for Youth Allownace ...

https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/youth-allowance-job-seekers/how-claim/phone-appointment

Talk to them in Pidgin English. They can't wait to get off the line. Works well with me as I spent time in PNG and learnt their language. Add a bit of Police Moto. Great fun had by me

Medical Centres use blocked number too. When I asked why they said it was security in case somebody had my phone. If I miss the call I can't ring back.

Another one I heard was a Bank was ringing a friend of mine, then asking him his date of birth. He told them they had his file and they could tell him. He would have confimed it if it was correct. My friend knew the guy's voice but he wasn't giving the guy details he already had especially as he was with a person doing a job and apart from being introduced to him he knew nothing about him.

Medical Centres use blocked number too. When I asked why they said it was security in case somebody had my phone. If I miss the call I can't ring back.

Another one I heard was a Bank was ringing a friend of mine, then asking him his date of birth. He told them they had his file and they could tell him. He would have confimed it if it was correct. My friend knew the guy's voice but he wasn't giving the guy details he already had especially as he was with a person doing a job and apart from being introduced to him he knew nothing about him.

Sometimes Centrelink will call you outside of normal business hours and it will be from a private number. Usually, it is not out of the blue though, you might have lodged a claim or made a recent update etc. Normal business they will send it through to your MYGOV account if you have one.

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