SCAMwatch is warning Australians to be alert to scam calls offering to pay carbon tax compensation into your bank account or asking survey questions about the carbon tax. It is important to be aware of these scammers and not to give any of your personal information out.

A carbon tax is the new tax on energy sources which emit carbon dioxide. Carbon taxes address a negative externality. Externalities arise when an individual production or consumption activity imposes costs or benefits on others. In market transactions, these costs and benefits are not normally reflected in the prices involved in the transaction, or taken into account in the transaction decision.

How the scam works

You receive a call from a scammer claiming to be from the Federal Government or a Federal Government department. The scammer will then ask for your bank account details, possibly including passwords, in order to pay a carbon tax compensation payment into your bank account.

Early reports are that the scammer will offer $5,000 in compensation however this amount may vary from call to call and the scammer may ask you if you would like the compensation paid via a direct deposit or via cheque.

If you give the scammer your bank details and passwords they may gain access to your money and any personal details which are linked to your bank account. Some scam callers may also claim to be running a survey on the incoming carbon tax.

You can protect yourself from scams by doing the following:

•   If you receive a phone call out of the blue asking for your bank account or personal details, or claiming you need to pay money to receive a compensation payment, hang up immediately.

•   Be alert to scam survey calls which ask for personal and financial details.

•   The Australian Government will never call you to ask for your bank account details or to offer you carbon tax compensation. NEVER give your bank details and passwords out over the phone.

•   If you’re not sure that a call is a scam you can check by independently using official contact details, never use phone numbers or email addresses provided by the caller.

•   NEVER provide or confirm your personal details over the phone unless you made the call using details you found yourself and you trust the other party.

•   If you think you have provided bank account or credit card details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995. For more information regarding any taxation issues please submit an online enquiry or call our experienced team of accountants on 1300 QUINNS (784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to book an appointment.