Australian residents continue to be targeted by phone scammers who pretend to be from Centrelink and claim that call recipients are eligible for a pay rise.
Centrelink is the Australian government agency responsible for the disbursement of social security payments such as pensions and unemployment benefits. It is administered by the Department of Human Services.
Often, the scam calls are automated messages that ask you to call back. In other cases, the scammers may call you directly.
Typically, the scammers will claim that Centrelink has been trying to contact you by mail about an increase in your payment but has received no response. Supposedly, because you did not respond, your files have been moved to head office in a far off city and your case is on hold. The scammers then give you a choice of either travelling in person to the other city to complete the necessary forms or paying an immediate fee to have the forms mailed to you.
They may warn that if you don’t deal with the issue immediately, you will not get the promised increase and your payment may be stopped completely.
If you agree to pay, the scammers will then instruct you to wire the fee to them via a money transfer service such as Western Union. Or, they may ask you to buy iTunes Gift Cards and then call back to provide the card numbers.
Centrelink or the Department of Human Services will never cold-call you and demand that you pay an immediate fee in order to keep receiving payments or get a pay increase. If Centrelink determines that you owe them money, they will make an arrangement with you to repay the amount, either by deducting a portion of your payments or by paying off the debt using a credit card, direct deposit, or BPay. They will certainly never ask you to pay any sort of fee or debt via gift cards or wire transfers.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from Centrelink who asks you to pay an immediate fee, do not comply. Just hang up.
If you are unsure about the veracity of such a call, contact Centrelink or the Department of Human Services directly to ask about the call. Do not use a number supplied by the person who called. Instead, contact the department via the contact details supplied on the department’s official website or listed on legitimate letters or other trusted sources.
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!