Scam alert: Fake bill and loan discounts

  • ASIC is alerting investors about an impersonation scam using email and cold calling tactics
  • Scammers are making fake offers of 30% discounts on bills and loan repayments
  • Unless you are dealing directly with the service provider, discount billing and upfront payment offers are often scams.

Background

Scammers are using free email services to falsely impersonate a registered company to make fake discount offers on bills and loan repayments. Discount offers from third parties are often fake, especially when they make the offers by cold calling you.

How the scam works

Scammers are:

  • cold calling people, promising savings of 30% on their bills and loan facilities
  • using free email services such as Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo to impersonate legitimate companies
  • stealing victim’s money by providing fake payment facilities to victims, such as a stolen credit card number, to make purchases or pay bills, when this purchase is ultimately reversed by the owner of the stolen credit card, the scammers then ask the victim to make repayments to various bank accounts held in the names of individuals. Scammers often use stolen identity documents to open ‘mule accounts’ to funnel money through.

What to do if you have provided funds

  1. Do not send any more money.
  2. Report it to your financial institution. If you are not happy with your financial institution’s response, you can make a complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
  3. Be wary of secondary scams or money recovery services that may offer to help you get your money back for a fee.
  4. Contact IDCARE, a free government-funded service, which can help to develop a specific response plan if your identity has been compromised. IDCARE will never contact you out of the blue.

You can also report the scam to the ACCC’s ScamWatch which will help prevent others from being scammed. Please note that ASIC is unable to assist in recovering your money or tracking down the scammer.

Further support

If you need someone to talk to, contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours) or their crisis support online chat or
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 (24 hours) or their webchat

If you are experiencing problems with debt, contact:

  • the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm) or chat online

Related links

ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator.

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Last updated: 23/12/2022 10:00