The Australian Federal Police has been called in to investigate “fraudulent activity” in relation to the government’s early release of superannuation scheme.
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The Australian Tax Office (ATO) confirmed the investigation in a statement this morning.
“Measures designed to protect the integrity of the early access to superannuation scheme have helped detect a small amount of fraudulent activity associated with the program,” the ATO said.
“A small number of people appear to have had personal details unlawfully used in a bid to defraud the program. This has been stopped and the impacted individuals are being contacted.”
However, the tax office said its systems were not hacked.
According to Sky News reports, there have been as many as 100 cases, and one applicant has had their details stolen and lost $10,000 in superannuation.
The government’s early access to superannuation scheme allows Australians affected by coronavirus to draw down up to $10,000 of their superannuation this financial year, and another $10,000 next financial year.
More than 950,000 Australians have already applied to access their nest egg, with around $7.9 billion in superannuation set to be released.
The scheme itself has attracted controversy, with personal finance experts and super industry members warning Australians that drawing down on your super early should be a last resort.
Industry Super analysis found a 20-year-old woman who removed the full $20,000 from their superannuation stands to lose $120,000 from their superannuation by retirement.
“Members should tread carefully and only think about cracking open their super after they’ve taken up the extra cash support on offer from the government- super should be the last resort given the impact it can have on your retirement nest egg,” Industry Super Australia chief executive Bernie Dean said.
“Members need to know that taking your super now is like selling a house at the bottom of the market- you’ll lose money you would probably claw back overtime.”
Money expert Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon also sounded a warning about the scheme.
“I don’t love this,” she said.
“Right now, you may well be selling at an historic low.”