PENSIONERS TARGETED IN CENTRELINK SCAM
Pensioners are warned to be wary of scammers pretending to be from the Department of Human Services or Centrelink.
Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann said pensioners are being targeted by the scammers, telling them they could be getting an increase in their pension.
“If you receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from Centrelink or the Department of Human Services, hang up immediately,” Mr Neumann said.
“That includes automated or robo-calls with a message that urges the pensioner to call a phone number to ensure they get a pension increase.
“Older people through Ipswich and the Somerset region have told me the scammers say they should have received a letter about the pension increase and they need to return their forms.
“Be aware that this is a scam and you should NOT call the number provided.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported that the scam has been around throughout the year. Mr Neumann said there appears to be a current spike in scam calls within the local area.
Trusting pension-recipients who have called the number were told that their file has been sent to Canberra, and they would need to go to Canberra to fill in the forms or pay a fee to have the forms sent to them.
“Scammers simply want your money and they will ask for payments via wire transfer or even iTunes cards. They may try to pressure you, saying your benefits will cease until you make the payment.
“It is all a lie, a scam and a crime.
“The Department of Human Services will NEVER insist on payments being made in order to receive benefits.
“However, anyone who is concerned should contact the Government Department by looking up the details themselves rather than the number provided by the caller.
“I encourage all residents to be wary of scammers, especially over this holiday period when they might be susceptible to calls promising extra money.
“If it seems too good to be true, or simply feels dodgy, it probably is.”
Mr Neumann warned residents to ensure more vulnerable family members and neighbours were not taken in by scammers.
“Check in on older family members, friends and neighbours and let them know to not respond to these calls.”
If you have been targeted by this or other scams, report it to ScamWatch on 1300 795 995 or online at: www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam.
If you are concerned you or someone you know has been the victim of a scam contact your local Police Station or call Police Link (for non-emergency calls) on 131 444.
The Department of Human Services (including Centrelink and Medicare) has a web page with information about scams: www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/scams.
For further information contact Shayne Neumann’s office on 3201 5300.