Scam callers targeting Gladstone residents
SCAMMERS are calling Gladstone residents claiming they are from Services Australia and they are trying to help people because a Federal Warrant has been issued for their arrest.
At least two reporters from The Observer have been targeted in the past fortnight, and I have received two calls from these mobile numbers.
Queensland police have confirmed the calls are from scammers, with recent reports stating they can manipulate the telephone system so it appears a call is coming from a Queensland Police Station.
Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen confirmed they were aware of the scam calls.
"Scams are more frequent and sophisticated than ever before," Mr Jongen said.
"Scammers pretend to be us and other government agencies through phone calls, social media, email, text or post.
"Scammers often ask you to open an internet link or provide personal details.
"Phone scams often 'spoof' domestic numbers to give the call more legitimacy.
"The caller will ask for the person's postcode and then use that information to find the phone number of their local police station.
"On their next call, the scammer will spoof the local police station phone number to give more legitimacy to the scam."
Mr Jongen warned people never to provide personal details or open any internet links.
"Make sure you keep your personal information safe, don't give out your myGov sign in details or your Medicare card details," he said.
"Services Australia does call customers, but we always clearly identify ourselves.
"If you are unsure if the call is genuine, you should hang up and call us back on one of our payment lines to check.
"You can find all of our phone numbers at servicesaustralia.gov.au/phoneus."
If you do fall victim to a scam, Services Australia and other government agencies are there to help.
"When a customer has fallen victim to a scam, we take steps to protect their agency credentials from misuse and provide them with advice on how to protect their identity more generally," Mr Jongen said.
"We can also refer customers to IDCARE, a not for profit identity support service, for tailored support.
"If you think you've been scammed, call our dedicated Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk on 1800 941 126.
"You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org."
Mr Jongen said Services Australia was the first government agency in Australia to pilot a new level of SMS protection to block fraudulent text messages from cybercriminals.
"The pilot will involve Telstra registering nominated government numbers as legitimate and blocking all other malicious sources appearing to be from Centrelink or myGov for mutual Services Australia and Telstra customers," he said.
*Fake websites that impersonate Services Australia and its brand are also used to source personal information from people.
*In 2019-20 Services Australia was able to uncover and report on more than 180 new scam websites.
*If your tax file number has been lost, stolen or accessed by an unauthorised third party, tell the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as soon as possible.
*If you suspect misuse, phone the ATO's Client identity support centre on 1800 467 033 between 8:00am and 6:00pm, Monday to Friday.