SCAMwatch is again warning consumers to be on the lookout for bogus phone calls, emails and other scams relating to the government's economic stimulus package.

As part of the economic stimulus package, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and Centrelink will make one-off bonus payments to eligible Australians.

The ATO will start making tax bonus payments in early April 2009.

SCAMwatch has received reports of scammers sending bogus emails or calling to seek personal information such as the person's name, date of birth, address and bank details.

Scammers pose as government officials (such as the ATO and Centrelink) and inform the recipient that an application form must be completed to receive the bonus payments when this is not the case.

SCAMwatch understands that the majority of Australians will not need to do anything to receive payments. The ATO will make payments into accounts nominated in 2007–08 tax returns.

Some taxpayers, such as those who have not yet lodged their 2007–08 return and those who have changed banking details, may need to take action to receive payments. For more information, visit the ATO website or call 1300 686 636.

Centrelink started distributing the household stimulus payments in March 2009. For more information, visit the Centrelink website or call 1800 050 004.

SCAMwatch stresses that the ATO, Centrelink, banks and financial institutions will never send emails requesting verification of personal details.

Protect yourself

  • Never send your personal, credit card or banking details over the phone, in response to unsolicited emails or enter it on any website if you are not certain it is genuine.
  • If you receive unsolicited emails claiming to be from the ATO, Centrelink or your bank—delete them immediately!
  • Don't open any attachments or click on any links or reply to these emails.
  • Use a phone number or web address that you know is legitimate such as official letters from the organisation like a bank statements or phone book. Never rely on contact details provided in unsolicited emails.

More Information

Explore SCAMwatch to find out more about these types of scams (often called ‘phishing’ scams), learn how you can protect yourself against scammers or to report a scam.

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Rebate scams try to convince you that you are entitled to a rebate or reimbursement from the government, a bank or trusted organisation.