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Avoid scams targeting early access to super

These simple tips will help keep your retirement savings safe

Last updated: 16 July 2020

Need to know

  • Scammers have used the early access to super scheme to steal money from some Australians
  • Super Consumers Australia says people should not give their personal details to third parties or involve agents
  • You should also avoid involving any third parties if you do decide to access your super early

What scams are going on in super?

Earlier this year, the government announced a temporary initiative allowing people to withdraw a total of $20,000 from their super to help deal with financial hardship resulting from COVID-19.

Unfortunately, there have been reports of scammers using the early access portal to steal people's super.

A related scam involves agents taking payment or a percentage of your super to 'help' you withdraw some of your super.

If you're thinking of accessing your super early, CHOICE has outlined what to consider before making an application.

Ariana's story*

Super Consumers Australia has been contacted by Ariana, who received three calls in a 24-hour period from someone claiming to be from "Premium Support Centre". The caller asked Ariana which fund her super was with and whether they had been in contact regarding COVID-19. They described themselves as an independent financial advice service.

Ariana looked up the company, but they had no web presence. The ABN listing for the company was for the suspiciously named "IT'S SOMETHING ELSE PTY LTD". Ariana eventually hung up on them for the last time.

Nobody legitimate is going to call you out of the blue and ask you about withdrawing your super early

Xavier O'Halloran, Super Consumers director

"Nobody legitimate is going to call you out of the blue and ask you about withdrawing your super early," says Super Consumers director, Xavier O'Halloran.

"If you really need to access this service you can do it yourself without paying a fee through the government's MyGov portal.

"Ariana was right to hang up on them."

*Not her real name.

How do I avoid these scams?

Don't give out personal details: scammers can use these to impersonate you and get access to your super. 

Remember that your fund will never call you out of the blue, asking for your personal details. If you're not sure whether the person you're talking to is from your fund, you can hang up and call them. 

Don't follow links to MyGov: type in the address yourself or phone the service on 13 23 07.

Don't involve third parties or agents: the process of accessing your super early has been designed to be easy. 

How can I check if someone has tried to access my super?

You can check whether anyone has made an application to access your super at MyGov. 

This portal is also useful for checking how many super accounts you have and tracing any lost super. Our 'Six Fundamentals of Super' article has simple advice on getting the most out of your super.

What should I do if I think I've been scammed?

Contact your super fund immediately. 

Remember to look up the contact details for your fund. Do not follow a link from a text or email – this could be a 'phishing' site designed to look like the fund's website and steal your personal details. 

Being scammed can be a distressing experience. If you need someone to speak to, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Where can I report any suspicious activity?

Notify the Australian Taxation Office by calling 1800 467 033. 

IDCare can also help you if you think a scammer may have stolen your identity. Their phone number is 1800 595 160.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.