Update - Beware of carbon price scams

28 August 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.

The ACCC has recently become aware of carbon price related scams whereby people are telephoned and asked to provide their bank account details.  For example scammers may phone you claiming to be from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) to offer you a grant for mortgage assistance under the Federal Government’s Household Assistance Package of up to $100,000. These offers are false.

Beware of phone calls seeking your personal banking details to pay carbon ‘tax’ compensation into your bank account – these are likely to be a scam. Scammers may also know your name, address and phone number and may try to make an appointment to visit you in your home.

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.

Protect yourself

  • The Australian Government will never call you to ask for your bank account details or to receive the Household Assistance Package. Government services are never paid via money transfer services, nor will they ever ask you to send money this way. The Australian Government website www.australia.gov.au is a safe portal for finding government services.
  • If you receive a phone call or letter asking for personal information such as your Tax File Number, Veteran’s Affairs client number or banking details, do not answer straight away. Contact the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 61 or your nearest DVA office on 133 254 (or 1800 555 254 if in regional Australia) to confirm that the source is legitimate.
  • 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 such as through a phone book or online search. Never use phone numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller.
  • 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. A secure site is usually identifiable by the use of “https:” rather than “http:” at the start of the internet address, or by a closed or unbroken key or padlock icon at the bottom right corner of your browser window.
  • If you are a business, 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.
  • 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.

More information

Information about the Household Assistance Package is available at the FaHCSIA website.

Stay one step ahead of scammers, follow @SCAMwatch_gov on Twitter or visit http://twitter.com/SCAMwatch_gov

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