WHAT WOULD you do if someone claiming to be from Centrelink said your pension would be cut off if you didn't pay a debt?
That's what happened to one Centrelink customer, who was convinced by a scammer to pay off a fake debt using $300 worth of iTunes gift cards.
In the last six months, the Department of Human Services received more than 1270 calls for from people who had either lost money, or had passed on sensitive personal information that might be used to steal their identity.
As part of this week's Scams Awareness Week, Centrelink has launched a dedicated scams helpline to assist clients who have fallen victim to fraudsters and to identify thieves posing as departmental staff.
It's designed to provide advice and assistance to clients on what steps they need to take next to protect themselves from further financial loss, including increasing the security and identity verification settings around their Centrelink accounts, or referring them to external agencies which specialise in assisting scam victims.
Scammers use many tactics to extract money or personal information from unsuspecting victims, such as impersonating employees from Centrelink and other government organisations.
- The new helpline number is 1800 941 126. It is only open to Centrelink clients who are currently receiving a welfare payment.
For more information about scams and how to avoid them, people can also visit humanservices.gov.au/scams.