The Federal government has recently allowed individuals affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus to apply for the early release of their superannuation.
Alarmingly, Government officials have uncovered a “highly complex” early-access fraud that robbed 150 Australians of $120,000 to superannuation savings.
As of 3 May, about $6.3 billion of transactions were made to 830,000 applicants, as per the data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Approximately 96 percent of all these payments were made within five working days, with an average payment of $7629.
The Coalition has shortly withdrawn the program last month after the Australian Tax Office revealed that criminals had used false identity records to subvert the scheme, targeting at least 150 Australians.
What does superannuation industry alerts?
They alert that scammers will again exploit the early-release superannuation scheme unless the federal government immediately increases security.
The major representative bodies of the industry have already written to regulatory authorities and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, urging the government to initiate new checks and balances before another second tranche of the scheme begins on July 1.
The letter was on detailing adequate assurance and compliance concerning fraudulent applications, eligibility self-assessment risks, and an endorsement of a substantial amount of non-genuine releases.
This acts against the true explicit intent of the scheme to promote those in financial trouble, and against the excellently-established purpose of retirement benefits.
Retirement funds and super accounts have always been a favorite target for scammers, especially because these accounts are usually owned by older Australians who are less tech-savvy. Hackers robbed more than $6 million in 2019 alone from superannuation scams, with individuals aged 45 to 54 suffering the lion’s share of the loss.
Officials are now investigating how the attackers have hacked into the system by creating false myGovID accounts in the identities of their victims, then submitting fraudulent early release super requests worth up to $10,000 each.
How To Help Shield Yourself Against Superannuation Scams
It may seem intimidating to protect yourself from high-tech hackers, but cyber attackers typically rely on human flaws to get access to confidential data. Here are steps that can be taken to safeguard yourself against any fraudsters that look at your super account.
Never give anyone who has approached you any information about your superannuation — this includes offerings to help you obtain your superannuation early under new regulations from the government.
If anybody calls you trying to claim to be from an organization that can help you gain early access to your super, hang up and verifies your identity by calling the organization directly onto their number.
The ATO coordinates, super early release through myGovID. Under this scheme, you do not need to contact the third-party or pay the premium to get entry.
Don’t ever follow a hyperlink to the website myGovID. Also, type the website’s full name into your own browser.
Whether you have provided scammers information about your pension, inform your Superannuation Fund immediately. You should also visit your bank if you shared your personal or banking details and tell them what actually did happen.
How To Check Whether Your Super Fund Has Been Compromised
If you believe you may have been put at risk, there are measures that you should take to ensure that you nip the problem at the source:
Check if your data was used in any suspected data attacks on the ‘Firefox monitor?’ website.
Review your myGovID account or call myGovID helpdesk 132 307 to see if you’ve been defrauded and applied for early access to your superannuation.
If an application has been made for early access and you have not attempted to make it, or you do not have a myGovID account, please contact your Superannuation Fund and ask them to stop the withdrawal. Inform them you were never planning to apply.
Alert the ATO at 1800 467 033 that without your permission, somebody has tried to withdraw your superannuation.
Presently, myGovID has arranged the early release of superannuation through the Australian Taxation Office. Under the new system, there’s no need to include a third party or pay a premium to get entry.
Please keep in mind that you always enter in the browser tab the full name of the myGovID website. Do not click on any hyperlink to get to the web.
After the declaration to this effect in March, there have been 87 incidents of such superannuation scams recorded.
The scammers have collected sensitive information in several of the recorded cases of these fraud involving superannuation in Australia.
“All across the world is in sheer panic about COVID-19. Cybercriminals are intensifying the situation, reaping the benefits of coronavirus distress to manipulate and prey on the fears of people all over the world. Since the outbreak, government agencies have received thousands of fraud reports related to coronavirus. Doubling and maximizing cybersecurity is the only way to safeguard from sophisticated cyber criminals” says, Ravin Prasad (CEO Cybernetic Global Intelligence, Australia).
Always keep an eye out for the scammers and never fall prey for them; it’s the only money you have now.
Keen awareness of the widening cyber-attacks and preventive measures will help you shield against the fraudsters. The only way to overcome this uncertain peril is to stay alert and be aware.
Cybernetic Global Intelligence, a globally renowned cybersecurity group, is around to lend you a helping hand by providing reliable cybersecurity services to safeguard you. So, make sure that you stay secured and guarded with proper cybersecurity measures in place and stay protected.