One of our clients, a Centrelink recipient, has informed us of a suspicious phone call they received from an unknown person claiming to be from Centrelink. Thankfully, no personal details had been exchanged and no damage done, but it is a timely reminder to always be wary of scams, both online and offline.
The scammer called our client at home, and after claiming they were from Centrelink, explained that they had not received responses to requests for outstanding information from our client. The scammer then went on to explain that the case had been ‘referred to Canberra’, and that a phone call would need to be made to a specific phone number, where a reference number of 080456 would need to be quoted (which we have subsequently found quoted on a number of scam reports online).
At this point our client had become quite suspicious, ended the phone call, and contacted us. Presumably the next step the scammer wanted our client to follow was to call the number they had provided, where they would go through some sort of fake identification process to obtain personal information, potentially including bank account details.
Individuals aren’t the only targets of scammers, which is something we are very aware of after having our own close call with identity fraud last year.
It is worth checking out Centrelink’s own list of the types of scams it is aware of where the scammer is claiming to be from their department. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) also runs Scamwatch, which ‘provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams’. It is well worth checking these sites regularly to keep yourself up to date and in the best position to avoid being caught up in a scam.