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Aussies affected by floods warned of new threat: 'It's un-Australian'

Services Australia has warned disaster-affected Aussies are being targeted by a new scam.

A person removing $100 notes from a wallet and a crowd of people walking across the street on a rainy day to represent flood disaster payments.
Aussies affected by recent flooding have been warned to stay on the lookout for scammers. (Source: Getty)

Aussies who have been affected by flooding and other disasters have been warned to be on the lookout for a new scam.

Criminals are pretending to be disaster-relief agencies to access victims’ information to take advantage of people affected by disasters.

“These scammers may be offering help, payments, or claim they’re collecting donations for disaster-affected communities,” Services Australia warned.

“When offering you ‘help’, the scammers will often ask for your personal information. This can include asking for your bank details, passwords or credit card details. They may ask you this directly, or get this information by asking you to register your details online.”

Services Australia said to take advantage of a victim, scammers may ask for personal information on social media, contact victims directly via direct message or live chats, and may ask for money for providing help.

Services Australia reminded Aussies it would never ask you to communicate via direct message or live chat.

“We’ll never ask you to share personal information with us on social media, and we never ask you to pay for our assistance,” Services Australia said.

Sadly, scammers taking advantage of Aussies affected by disaster is nothing new. Back in August last year, Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten said $22 million was blocked from going to fraudsters trying to rort the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment claims and the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments.

“It’s disappointing that people intentionally try to defraud payments that are being delivered to people who genuinely need support,” Shorten said at the time.

“It’s not worth it – Services Australia’s fraud-detection capability is continually evolving. People who do the wrong thing will get caught.”

Minister for Emergency Services Murray Watt said it was an extremely low act to intentionally try to scam money intended to support people impacted by difficult circumstances like floods and the pandemic.

“It's un-Australian and they should be ashamed of themselves,” Watt said.

“The government is committed to ensuring communities with a legitimate need are supported as quickly as possible, but the message is clear, if you attempt to claim money you aren’t entitled to, you should expect to be caught.”

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