More than 360,000 Australians have applied for early release of their superannuation under the coronavirus assistance scheme, but there are warnings scammers are trying to exploit those impacted.
Over 360,000 super fund members have so far registered with the ATO for early access to their retirement savings under the Morrison Government's plan to help those facing severe financial stress due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The first $10,000 is available in the financial year 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in the financial year 2020-21.
According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), they had received 361,000 registrations at the end of April 2 - just three days after registrations had opened.
To be eligible, people must:
- Have been made redundant,
- Had their working hours reduced by more than 20%,
- Or be a sole trader whose turnover has fallen by 20% or more.
The government has estimated around $27 billion in superannuation will be withdrawn, but some in the super sector fear that number could be closer to $50 billion.
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It comes amid warnings from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that scammers are trying to take advantage of the Government’s recent announcement that people suffering financial hardship can have partial access to their superannuation from mid-April.
“Scammers are cold-calling people claiming to be from organisations that can help you get early access to your super,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“The Australian Taxation Office is coordinating the early release of super through myGov and there is no need to involve a third party or pay a fee to get access under this scheme.”
“Never follow a hyperlink to reach the myGov website. Instead, you should always type the full name of the website into your browser yourself,” Ms Rickard said.
Since the government’s announcement in March, there have been 87 reports of these scams to Scamwatch.
In most cases, the scammers are seeking to obtain personal information that will help them access the victim’s superannuation funds.
“While older people are more commonly affected by superannuation scams, the new early-access scheme means a range of age groups are now experiencing these scams,” Ms Rickard said.
“We also have reports of scammers offering to check if a person’s super account is eligible for various benefits or claiming the new scheme will lock people out of their accounts.”
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