Beware of scammers taking advantage of carbon price announcement
Pensioners and other consumers should be alert to a new scam that is trying to use the announcement of the carbon price household assistance package to obtain bank account numbers and other personal information, the Minister for Families, Community Services, Housing and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury, said today.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued an alert on its Scamwatch.gov.au website about a new scam where people purporting to be from the Government are asking pensioners for their bank account details to supposedly transfer payments as part of the Government’s carbon price household assistance package. A variation on the scam involves callers running a survey on the proposed carbon price and asking for personal and banking details.
Initial reports show that the scammers are quoting a household assistance amount of $5,000 and offer payment by direct deposit or cheque.
“This is a disgraceful scam that is targeting some of our most vulnerable members of the community,” said Mr Bradbury.
“This scam is an opportunistic attempt to use the announcement of the carbon price household assistance package to try and rip off unsuspecting pensioners.
“Anyone who is contacted by someone claiming to be from the Government and offering to transfer money in exchange for personal information, such as their bank account details, should contact the ACCC immediately.”
Ms Macklin said pensioners and recipients of government payments who want to find out more about the household assistance package should call 1800 057 590 or visit www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au.
“People should be aware that the first payments to pensioners and families are not scheduled to be made until May and June next year,” Ms Macklin said.
“When the increased payments start they will be automatic and pensioners and families will not need to apply or provide their bank account details.”
Some tips to avoid becoming the victim of a scam include:
- If you receive a phone call out of the blue asking for your bank account or personal details, or claiming you need to pay money to receive a payment, hang up immediately.
- Be alert to scam survey calls which ask for personal and financial details.
- The Australian Government will never call you to ask for your bank account details or to offer you a payment.
- If you’re not sure that a call is a scam you can check by independently using official contact details, never use phone numbers or email addresses provided by the caller.
- NEVER provide or confirm your personal details over the phone unless you made the call using details you found yourself and you trust the other party.
- If you think you have provided bank account or credit card details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
“Consumers can also keep up to date with the latest scams on the ACCC website, Scamwatch.gov.au, where you can also sign up for regular email alerts,” Mr Bradbury said.
If you would like to report a scam, contact the Scamwatch ACCC Infocentre on 1300 795 995, or contact your local police.