Department of Human Services ‘Qualification for Subsidy Benefit’ Scam Email

Email purporting to be from Australia’s Department of Human Services claims that you should reply to the email with your personal information in order to affirm your eligibility for the 2016 subsidy benefit.

Brief Analysis:
The email is not from the Department of Human Services. It is a scam designed to trick you into divulging sensitive personal and financial information to criminals who may use it to steal your identity.


From: Australian Government Department of Human Services

Subject: Your 2016 Subsidy benefit – Code Ao1D

The Department of Human Services would like to inform you of your qualification for 2016 subsidy benefit.

In other to affirm your eligibility, simply reply to this secure message with the following details
as listed below & you will be notified shortly.

Last Name:
First Name:
Date of Birth (DD/MM/YYYY):
Tax File Number:
Complete Address (Street number & name/Suburb/State/Postcode):
Enter at least 2 of the information listed below correctly
1. Dividends statement (one from the last 2 years) Enter the investment reference number from
your dividend statement (no spaces or ‘/’ symbols, e.g. X0011223344) :

2. Notice of assessment (one from the last 5 years) Enter the date of issue from your notice of assessment (DD/MM/YYYY):
& Enter the sequence or our reference number from your notice of assessment (no spaces) :

3. PAYG summary (one from the last 2 years) Enter the gross amount (no spaces or “$” “.” symbols, e.g. 2400):

4. Superannuation account details (one from the last 5 years) Enter the super fund ABN (numbers only):
& Enter the member account number (no spaces):

5. Centrelink payment summary (one from the last 2 years) Enter the taxable income amount from your Centrelink
payment summary (no spaces or “$” “.” symbols, e.g. 2400):

6. Enter either a bank account your income tax refund was paid into for the last financial year, or an interest bearing investment account from the last 2 years.
Enter BSB:
Enter Account Number:

Department of Human Services scam email

Detailed Analysis:
This email, which purports to be from Australia’s Department of Human Services,  supposedly informs you about ‘your qualification for 2016 subsidy benefit’. The email advises you to reply with your personal and financial information to ‘affirm your eligibility’ for the subsidy.

The email includes an Australian Government logo as well as an Australian Government copyright notice.  It asks you to provide your Tax File Number, name, address, and date of birth information. It also asks you to supply information from official tax,  superannuation, and Centrelink documents as well as your bank BSB and account number.

However, the email is certainly not from the Department of Human Services or any other official entity.  Instead, it is a phishing scam designed to trick you into supplying sensitive personal and financial information to cybercriminals. If you send the information requested in the email, the criminals may be able to use the information to steal your identity.  After you reply, the scammers may also send follow-up messages asking for even more personal and financial information.

No legitimate company or government department is ever likely to ask recipients to supply such information by replying to an email. Despite the claim in the scam message, the email is certainly not ‘secure’.

Versions of this scam email have been distributed for several months. Late last year, an almost identical version referenced ‘your qualification for 2015’ subsidy benefit. If you receive one of these emails, do not reply and do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains. If you have online accounts with government departments, always login via the department’s official website or app. If you do have a message from the department, it will likely be available for viewing after you have logged in.

Department of Human Services has published information about such scams on its website.

Last updated: May 19, 2016
First published: December 17, 2015
By Brett M. Christensen
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