We’re being warned of a scam that has already cost Aussies more than $27,000 this year.
According to ScamWatch, there has been a spike in people being duped by scammers pretending to be from Centrelink or the Department of Human Services.
While it’s by no means a new scam, the number of people being targeted has increased dramatically from last year when there was a reported loss of just $3,500.
The ACCC says unwary Aussies are being taken for a ride by calls pretending they are about to increase benefits.
“If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the Department of Human Services or Centrelink claiming that you are eligible for an increase in your pension or benefit – hang up,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“The scammer will claim that you’ve been sent a letter about an increase in your benefits and not responded to it.
“They will then claim that your file has been sent to Canberra and that you can either go to Canberra to fill out the required form or you can pay a fee and have the forms sent to you.”
The aim is to get payment via wire money transfers or iTunes cards with the scammer threatening to withhold any benefits until the situation is resolved.
However, the real Department of Human Services and Centrelink will never ask for a deposit in order to receive your payments.
People are being advised if in doubt to call the office directly from a number you find online or in the phone book.
NEED TO KNOW:
– If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from Centrelink and offering an increase in benefits, hang up.
– If you have any doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a government department, contact the department directly using independently sourced details.
– Never give your personal or financial details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
– Any requests to send money via a gift card (such as iTunes) should be treated as highly suspicious as they are not considered a legitimate source of payment.
– Never send any money via wire transfer or any other means to anyone you do not know or trust.
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