Fake grants from a fake government department

9 September 2010

SCAMwatch and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government are warning Australians of scammers who call offering fake grants from a fake government department.

Scammers claim you have received a government grant and then request a fee of $199 to release the grant funds to you. They may also request $4000 to 'contribute to charities to pay off government debt'.

Be alert—scammers claiming to represent the fictitious “Australian Government Grants Department” may fool you into believing they are legitimate as they may already have your personal details.

The scammers also claim that they operate the Government GrantsLINK directory website, www.grantslink.gov.au. This website is a legitimate Australian Government website run by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.  It does not provide grants funding and is not affiliated with the scammers.

Protect yourself

  • Be suspicious if you receive a call about a grant you did not apply for. Hang up immediately! The Government does not cold call offering grants and does not charge a fee to release grant funds.
  • Be cautious if you are contacted out of the blue by ANY government department requesting personal information—it may be a scam. Always contact the department independently before responding using contact details from a trusted source.
  • Never send your personal, credit card or banking details in an email or over the phone—scammers will use your details to commit identity fraud or steal your money.
  • If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

Report

You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.

You can also call the GrantsLINK call centre on 1800 026 222 if you have received a suspicious call about grants.

More information

For more information about how you can protect yourself, check out the Requests for your account information ('phishing' scams) and Up-front payment scams pages on SCAMwatch.

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government has issued a media release about the scam.

The ACCC and the Australian Communications and Media Authority have issued a joint media release about phone scams.

Read more