Centrelink scammers promise benefit increase

IF you get a call from Centrelink saying you're in line for a pension or benefits increase, hang up. 

It's a scam.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says scammers pretending to be from the Department of Human Services or Centrelink are hitting locals.

The ACCC's Scamwatch has received over 2,200 reports of this scam since January, with more than $27,000 reported lost.

Four individuals have reported losses of $1000 or more, up from 2015, when there was $3,500 reported loss and 560 contacts.

"If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the Department of Human Services or Centrelink claiming that you are eligible for an increase in your pension or benefit - hang up," ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

"The scammer will claim that you've been sent a letter about an increase in your benefits and not responded to it.

They will then claim that your file has been sent to Canberra and that you can either go to Canberra to fill out the required form or you can pay a fee and have the forms sent to you."

The scammer's main objective is to get your money and they usually ask for payment via wire money transfer or iTunes cards.

To push you into paying this money, the scammer might threaten that you will not receive any further benefits until the situation is resolved," Ms Rickard said.

"The Department of Human Services will never ask you to deposit money in order to receive a payment. If in doubt, don't use any contact details provided by the caller.

"Look up the government department or organisation yourself in the phone book or online, and phone or email them."

You can report scams to the ACCC via the Scamwatch report a scam page

Further information is at https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/scams

Stay one step ahead of scammers, follow @Scamwatch_gov on Twitter.