July 2012: SCAMwatch is warning you to be aware of scam calls or emails claiming that you are entitled to reclaim fees or rebates.
Scammers pretending to be from the Government, a bank or trusted organisation have come up with all sorts of stories to convince you to part with your money such as overpaid taxes, bank fees or compensation.
Now that it’s tax time, SCAMwatch warns that reclaim scams for overpaid taxes are likely to increase.
If you are contacted out of the blue and told that you are entitled to money in exchange for an upfront fee, ignore it – if you hand over your money, it’s gone.
How these scams work
You receive a call or email out of the blue that claims you are eligible to reclaim money for overpaid taxes, bank fees or compensation.
The caller or sender pretends to be from a government department, financial institution or trusted organisation.
In order to receive your money, you will have to pay a fee upfront to cover ‘administration fees’ or taxes.
The scammer will typically ask you to send the money via a money transfer service.
You may also be asked to provide personal or financial details.
If you receive a phone call or email out of the blue claiming that you are entitled to reclaim money for a fee, hang up or press ‘delete’.
If you’re not sure whether the call or email is a scam, verify who they are by using their official contact details to call them directly. Never use contact details provided by the caller – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
If the caller or sender claims to be from the Government, remember: government departments will never contact you asking you to pay money upfront in order to claim a fee or rebate.
Never send money or give your financial details to someone you don’t know and trust – it’s rare to recover money from a scammer.
If you think you’ve provided your bank account or credit card details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.
The Australian Government website www.australia.gov.au is a safe portal for finding government services.