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Department of Human Services phishing email scam

Priority Level: 
Moderate
16 December 2015

Stay Smart Online has had reports of a fake email that claims to be from the ‘Australian Government Department of Human Services’ and states that the recipient has qualified for a ‘2015 subsidy benefit’.

Scammers are continuing to send fake emails that use logos from Australian Government agencies to trick people into revealing personal and financial details.

If you receive one of these emails, you should delete it immediately and report the incident to the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission’s SCAMwatch service. If you are unsure about whether an email is legitimate, you should contact the Government agency involved using a phone number that you have sourced independently from the agency’s own website or phone directory.

The email asks the recipient to reply to the message with their last name, first name, date of birth, tax file number and full address. It also requests the recipient to submit “two of six items of information, including:

  • One dividend statement from the past two years      
  • One notice of assessment from the past five years
  • One PAYG summary from the past two years
  • Details of one superannuation account from the past five years
  • One Centrelink payment summary from the past two years
  • Bank account details that the recipient’s income tax was paid into for the last financial year, or an interest bearing account from the past two years.”

You should not provide any of this information. Scammers are likely to use it to steal your identity or take money from your bank accounts.

The Department of Human Services advises that it will never ask people to transfer money or provide passwords or PIN numbers to bank accounts.

Staying safe

If you have already provided your details to the scammers via the phishing email, you should:

  • Change all usernames and passwords associated with your personal and financial information
  • Notify your bank and other agencies that hold your personal information that you have been compromised
  • Close all accounts associated with the information that you provided to the scammers
  • Report the incident to ACORN, the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network.

More information

The Department of Human Services has a page dedicated to making people aware of scams.

Stay Smart Online has information on recognising scam and hoax emails and websites.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.