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 use this information to commit other scams.
How these scams work
- You receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from a government department.
- The caller or sender will claim that you are owed money for some reason.
- In order to receive the refund/payment you have to pay an administration fee or other fee upfront.
- The caller may tell you that you need to contact their supervisor with a reference number that they provide you in order to make the payment or they might ask you to pay straight away.
- 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. You will also never receive the promised rebate or refund.
- 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.
- If you receive a phone call or email out of the blue from someone claiming to be from a government department and they claim that you are entitled to money, hang up.
- 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.