Scammers pretending to represent Medicare and Centrelink

21 May 2010

Phishing scams are nothing new. Scammers have posed as bank employees and government staff members to trick victims into giving their personal details for identity fraud.

Recently, Medicare and Centrelink have received reports of scammers posing as employees asking recipients for their personal information.

SCAMwatch understands that the scammer offered cash and holiday prizes as rewards for participating in a survey. The scammer then proceeded to ask recipients intimate and inappropriate questions.

Government agencies and banks do not contact you unexpectedly by phone, email or social networking sites to update their records. Typically, they will phone as a follow-up to a letter or a previous phone call.

SCAMwatch reminds consumers to be wary of all out-of-the blue phone calls and emails supposedly from banks and government agencies. If in doubt, get their name and contact number and don’t call back until you are convinced that it is a genuine request.

Protect yourself

  • 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 are unsure whether you have received a legitimate request, call the organisation by using contact details from legitimate sources. Don’t rely on contact details provided to you in an email or through the phone. Instead, obtain contact details through an internet search, telephone directories or official letters/statements from organisations like banks.
  • People who used Medicare and Centrelink's online services should change their password regularly to protect their information.

Report

To report this scam, contact Centrelink or Medicare.

You can also report this matter on the report a scam page on the SCAMwatch website.

More information

For more information about this scam, refer to the media alert released by Medicare and Centrelink.[link no longer available]

Explore SCAMwatch to find out more information about phishing scams.

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