Stay alert for scammers if you live in a flood-affected area.
Scammers are posing as government employees, insurers and charity groups working hard to restore impacted communities.
You should always be alert to scam and fraud activities, but you may be particularly vulnerable following a natural disaster.
The Insurance Council of Australia declared that more than 5,000 insurance claims were lodged over the weekend, with insurers aiming to fast-track the processing of claims for flood-impacted policyholders.
Brazen scammers will pose as policyholders and intercept cash payments through fraudulent emails and SMS. Scammers target payments essential to recovery, whether funding temporary accommodation, replacing essential items, or rebuilding homes.
Government departments and other essential services will not randomly phone, email or send you text messages to initiate a benefit claim.
Cut and pasting government department icons, brands and imitating email and SMS are all tactics from the scammer's playbook.
Do not respond to any correspondence. If in doubt, phone the organisation using their main switchboard number - do not use any number provided by a potential scammer.
The amount lost to rebate scams is also on the rise. In December 2020, ACCC's Scamwatch recorded a 300% increase from the previous year.
You should be wary of all approaches you have not initiated, especially if someone asks you to send or transfer money online.
- Confirm the identity of the contact by calling the organisation directly. Use the main switchboard phone number or email enquiry address to get back to them. Don't be pressured to respond to the contact if you're not 100% sure.
- Do not share personal information in a phone call, such as your bank account screen, reading out passwords, or providing login details to MyGov.
- Trusted organisations will not ask for an upfront payment to process recovery payments. Varify any requests from Services Australia and government departments by calling their special hotlines on their websites.
- Consider your local post office. If your internet services are disrupted, use can trust your local post office to print and post.
- Only donate to legitimate registered official charities. Verify the charity through the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commissions website.
- Look out for scam emails, websites, text messages and phone numbers. If you have any concerns about scam payments or the security of your accounts, contact us immediately.