Updated June 2012: SCAMwatch is warning consumers and businesses to be on the look out for carbon price scams, particularly calls asking for personal information in order to receive compensation.
How these scams work
Carbon price scams may come in a number of forms, targeting consumers and businesses:
Beware of phone calls seeking your personal banking details to pay carbon ‘tax’ compensation into your bank account. These are likely to be scam calls;
Scammers may set up fake websites which look very similar to official Australian Government websites. The sites may ask you to enter your personal or financial details, or offer to sell you fake carbon credits;
Scammers may also make telephone calls posing as government officers, asking for your personal information (such as banking details or identification numbers) in order to claim household assistance from the government.
The Australian Government will never call you to ask for your bank account details or to offer you carbon price compensation. Government services are never paid via wire transfer.
The Australian Government website www.australia.gov.au is a safe portal for finding government services.
Be alert to scam telephone calls which ask for personal, business or financial details. Hang up immediately if you receive a phone call out of the blue:
asking for your bank account or personal details;
claiming you need to pay or transfer money, or provide your banking details, to receive a compensation payment or tax payment;
asking for personal details, such as your Department of Veterans Affairs/DVA client number or other identification or
offering to sell you carbon credits or permits for a carbon pricing mechanism or emissions trading scheme.
Scam telephone calls & letters
Never provide or confirm your personal or business details over the phone (including banking details or identification numbers) unless you made the call using contact details you found yourself and you trust the information.
If you think that a call might be a scam hang up and check by using official contact details which you have found independently. Never use phone numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller.
If you receive a phone call or letter asking for personal information such as your DVA client number or banking details, do not answer straight away. Contact your nearest DVA office on 133 254 or 1800 555 254 from regional Australia to confirm the source is legitimate.
Never enter your credit card or banking details on a website unless you have checked it is authentic and secure. Legitimate websites which ask you to enter sensitive personal or business details are commonly encrypted to protect your details.
This is usually identified by the use of “https:” rather than “http:” at the start of the internet address.
This can also be identified by a closed or unbroken key or padlock icon at the bottom right corner of your browser window.
If the ‘s’ is missing or there is an open padlock or broken key icon, your information may not be secure and the website could be a scam site.
If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer
Contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
Make sure you only deal with people you know and trust. Avoid having a large number of staff authorised to make orders or pay invoices. This will reduce the risk of your business paying for something that it is not required or is not legitimate.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.