August 2014: SCAMwatch is warning consumers and businesses to be aware of scammers looking to take advantage of the carbon tax repeal to steal your money.
Scammers may take advantage of dollar figures being quoted in the press about how much consumers may save from changes in the price of goods following the carbon tax repeal. Scammers may call or email consumers and small businesses with false claims that they are entitled to the money upfront.
Scammers often use major government programs or announcements like the carbon tax repeal to trick people into handing over their money or personal banking details. Scammers pretend to be from a government department or agency, or from a business such as an energy provider, to sound legitimate. They may spin a range of stories to make their story sound real, such as claiming that there is money due because of a tax refund, tax concession, one-off payment, discount, return or even a bonus.
In the case of the carbon tax repeal, scammers may call claiming that people are entitled to a carbon tax rebate or refund off their previous bill. However, for the money to be released, there is an upfront 'fee' to cover administration or other costs. If you pay the upfront fee, you are unlikely to ever see your money again.
Scammers typically ask for money to be sent via wire transfer as it's nearly impossible to recover money sent this way. They may also ask for people's financial and other personal details to access their money and commit identity theft.
Be on guard, you may receive a phone call or email from someone asking for your personal or banking details in order to pay you money due to the carbon tax repeal. If you are approached in this way hang up – the person on the other end may be a scammer. The best approach is to call them back on a phone number you find independently.
How these scams work
- You receive a call or email out of the blue from someone claiming to be from a government department or business such as an energy provider.
- The caller or sender will claim that, because of the carbon tax repeal, you are now entitled to a tax rebate or a refund on your previous bill.
- In order to receive the refund/payment you have to pay an administration fee or other fee upfront.
- The caller or sender will direct you to make the payment via a wire transfer services or credit card payment.
- Alternatively, you may be asked to provide your bank account details or other personal information so they can deposit the refund in your account.
- If you send any money via wire transfer, you will never see it again – it's nearly impossible to recover money sent this way. If you provide your bank account details or other personal information, the scammer may use it to commit identity theft or to steal your money. You will also never receive the promised rebate or refund.
- If you receive a phone call or email out of the blue from someone claiming to be from a government department or a business such as an energy provider and they claim that you are entitled to money due to the carbon tax repeal, be cautious.
- If you have any doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a business, organisation or government department, contact the body directly. Don't rely on numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
- Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
- If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.
Stay one step ahead of scammers, follow @SCAMwatch_gov on Twitter or visit http://twitter.com/SCAMwatch_gov.
For information on the ACCC's role in monitoring and enforcing the carbon tax repeal, see the ACCC carbon tax repeal webpage.
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