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Government ‘cost of living’ impersonation scam


Have you received a text message claiming to be from a government agency and that you’re owed a refund, or that you urgently need to update your personal information to receive a payment? Be careful – it could be a scam.

The ACMA is aware of reports of scammers taking advantage of cost-of-living pressures by sending messages posing as government agencies and offering fake payments and refunds. Agencies impersonated include myGov, Centrelink, Medicare, and the ATO.

These scams will ask you to click on links that lead to convincing websites to receive a refund or payment. These websites are fake. Other examples may ask you to update your personal details via a link or attachment, promising payment once completed.

They’re ultimately designed to trick you into handing over your financial information to a scammer.

What to do if you think you’re being scammed

If you receive one of these messages – stop and think. Don’t rush to act. Scammers will always try to create a sense of urgency.

Don’t click on any links or rely on the information in the message. Instead, contact the agency via details you find yourself – for example, through an official website or app.

More information

You can find more information about how to identify and avoid these scams via the myGov and ATO websites. Services Australia also provides advice to consumers on these and other similar scams on its website.

Don’t forget

Scammers target everyone. We encourage Australians to discuss how to identify scams with friends and family. Learn more about how to protect yourself from phone scams and help others by making a report to Scamwatch.

If you fall victim to a scam, contact your financial institution and phone provider and let them know what’s happened as quickly as possible. If you believe your identity has been compromised or stolen, please contact IDCARE on 1800 595 160 or at

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