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First Super: beware early access to super scammers

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Local industry super fund First Super is warning people to be aware of a new scam that started after the Federal Government’s announcement to allow early access to super to help people through the COVID-19 crisis.

Eligible super fund members will be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation savings before 1 July 2020, and another $10,000 between 1 July and 24 September.

Quick to pounce on an opportunity, fraudsters are phoning or emailing super fund members pretending to be agents who will help them through the application process for a fee. They may ask for member numbers and passwords for accessing member accounts online, and other personal details.

As the Industry SuperFund for the timber, pulp and paper, and furniture and joinery industries, First Super is strongly connected to Northern Tasmania and is aware that some of its members in the area may need to apply for early access to their super due to changed circumstances.

“The scammers’ aim is to take advantage of people suffering financial hardship, who are desperate for income due to a reduction or loss of their regular wages,” said First Super CEO Bill Watson.

What to do if you’re targeted

First Super says people should be cautious about any communications they receive about early access to their super.

“If you are worried that a phone call, email, or text message concerning your super is a scam, you should hang up or delete the message. You can easily contact your super fund afterwards to check if a call or email was genuine,” Mr Watson adds.

The important things to remember are:

·       The temporary early access to super application process does not open until Monday 20 April. Eligible super fund members need to apply through myGov only, not their super fund or any third party. The Government’s fact sheet has more details.

·       First Super – and, indeed, any super fund – will never contact members by phone, email or text message asking for online account passwords.

·       Super fund administration teams would normally request personal or financial details only in response to an enquiry or insurance claim from a member in relation to their super account.

·       The ‘temporary early access to super’ provision is designed as a last resort. Do explore the other Government income-support measures available and Rent Assistance.  Banks are also offering help, such as mortgage payment and loan holidays.

First Super members who need support with the application process when it goes live can contact our Member Services Team or their local Member and Employer Services Coordinator who will be happy to help.

First Super members can also check whether a message about their super is genuine by contacting our Member Services Team on 1300 360 988 or mail@firstsuper.com.au.

Sources of help and information for individuals

The Federal Government’s Early access to superannuation fact sheet
https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Early_Access_to_Super_1.pdf

MoneySmart’s dedicated COVID-19 and financial matters web page https://moneysmart.gov.au/covid-19

The Treasury’s “Supporting Individuals and Households” online hub for sources of financial support during the coronavirus period.
https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/households#early

The Services Australia hub for information and services to help people affected by COVID-19.
https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/affected-coronavirus-covid-19

Source – AAP Medianet

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