Government Scams

How to protect yourself from scams!

Every year scams cost Australians millions of dollars. Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels.

Have you ever received an email or a phone call that you are entitled to a grant in return for an upfront fee or were offered thousands of dollars because of a recent change to government policies?

If the offer seems too good to be true then it is most likely to be a scam.

Scams come in all shapes and sizes and often come from outside
Australia. Scammers know how to press your buttons to get what they want.

The Australian Taxation Office has experienced a significant increase in the number of scams reported. From January to May this year, the ATO received more than 40,500 phone scam reports, of which 226 Australians handed over $1.2 million and more than 1,900 gave out personal information, including tax file numbers.


Some recent government scams are:

  • Reclaim scams (rebate or reimbursement from government)
  • Phishing (giving out personal information)
  • Invitation to attend court from the Australian Federal Police
  • Tax debt payment via gift cards


Know how to protect yourself or your business!

Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.


Think about:

  • Be cautious if you are contacted out of the blue by any government department requesting personal information.
  • If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from a government department (i.e. Centrelink) and they claim that you are entitled to money or your payment will be cut off, hang up and ring the government department directly. Don’t rely on numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
  • Government services are never paid via wire transfer.
  • Never send your personal, credit card or banking details in an email or over the phone. Scammers can use your details to commit identity fraud or steal your money.
  • The Government does not cold call offering grants and does not charge a fee to release grant funds.


What you should do, if you are affected:

  • Contact your bank or credit union
  • Recover your stolen identity
  • Report scams to the authorities
  • Alert others to the scam
  • Change your online passwords
  • Contact your local consumer protection agency
  • Contact a counselling or support service
  • Avoid follow up scams



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