Early release super scam stripped mum of $10,000
Mother-of-three Andrea Dunn is one of the many victims who has had $10,000 stripped from her superannuation account without her consent.
It comes as the Australian Taxation Office was forced to halt its early access to superannuation scheme on Friday after cases of identity fraud were detected.
Ms Dunn, 54, from Drouin in Gippsland, Victoria, received a text message last month purporting to be from the ATO saying a new myGov had been set up in her name.
Then the next day she received an email from her super fund, Sunsuper, saying $10,000 had been transferred to a bank account, however she did not set up a new myGov account, nor apply for early access to super.
"I feel violated and concerned and angry that it will happen to others," Mrs Dunn said.
"My concern now is there's someone pretending to be me and they've set up a bank account in my name."
She has reported the fraud to the ATO, her super fund and Suncorp where the money was deposited.
Ms Dunn was on Friday told by Sunsuper the money would be returned to her within the coming days.
This week the Australian Federal Police were called in to investigate fraudulent activity associated with the early release program that is understood to have impacted about 150 people.
Under the scheme Australians must have been made redundant this year or had a significant drop to their income to be eligible.
Those who meet the criteria can access $10,000 this financial year and another $10,000 next financial year.
Latest figures show 1,242 million applications have been approved totalling $10.2 billion.
The average withdrawal is $8211.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison sent a stern warning to fraudsters that if they get caught, the authorities "should fine them and lock 'em up".
Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology Senator Jane Hume said it was vital people thoroughly safeguard their personal information.
"You should treat your myGov account like a bank account and protect your details with the most stringent security measures," she said.
"Unfortunately unscrupulous scammers regularly try to take advantage of Australians - attempted identify theft is common in areas of financial services and our agencies maintain constant vigilance."
But Industry Super Australia' chief executive Bernie Dean said the decision to suspend the early release scheme could result in further delays in getting money to cash-strapped applicants.
"It may mean members in need who have applications in process or were planning to make applications could face payment delays," he said.
"The community obviously needs to have confidence in the scheme at all stages in the application process."
Originally published as Mum stripped of $10K from super