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The ACCC warns of new superannuation scam targeting COVID-19 decision

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) released a recent warning regarding a new superannuation scam. The scam takes advantage of the government’s decision to allow Australians partial access of their superannuations starting mid-April to lessen the financial impact of COVID-19.

Since the government’s superannuation announcement in mid-March, there have been nearly 90 reported incidents of these types of scams nationally. However, there have been no reported loses thus far. The scams were disclosed directly to the ACCC by Scamwatch.

Delia Rickard, ACCC Deputy Chair, said in a recent ACCC press release, “scammers are cold-calling people claiming to be from organisations that can help you get early access to your super”.

“For most people, outside of their home, superannuation is their greatest asset and you can’t be too careful about protecting it.”

Therefore, the severity of these scams could be enormous for some individuals. The ACCC warns the public how important it is to keep your superannuation information secure and strongly advises against providing any information to third parties.

“The Australian Taxation Office is coordinating the early release of super through myGov and there is no need to involve a third party or pay a fee to get access under this scheme. Never follow a hyperlink to reach the myGov website. Instead, you should always type the full name of the website into your browser yourself,” stated Mrs. Rickard in a press release.

“Never give any information about your superannuation to someone who has contacted you. Don’t let them try to pressure you to make a decision immediately, take your time and consider who you might be dealing with.”

Australians lost over $6 million to superannuation scams in 2019, with 45-54 being the age bracket that accounted for the largest amount of money lost to scammers, according to the ACCC.

Superannuation scams typically disproportionately target older individuals. However, since the government’s announcement granting partial access to supers due to COVID-19, it’s likely people of all ages will be targeted by these new super scams. It is important for people of all ages stay vigilant of superannuation scams to safeguard from the exploitation of hackers in the coming months.

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