A new scam alert has been issued following the discovery of a scam involving Medicare account holders and their identities across three states.
The sophisticated scam has been reported by ABC this afternoon and it is believed the scammers are setting up fake accounts using stolen identities obtained through Medicare records.
New South Wales Police are investigating the theft of personal details from Medicare records and now an identical scam has emerged in the Northern Territory.
The loss so far recorded by Department of Human Services is estimated to be over $30,000. The first inkling of a scam came via Darwin doctor Sam Heard who discovered his personal details had been stolen. A false bank account was set up in his name soon after he visited the Royal Darwin Hospital’s emergency department just last month, as shock for the doctor who had not used his Medicare card for 10 years.
Dr Heard had a suspicion something was very wrong when he received a letter from Medicare saying they were going to deposit $2,000 into an account he had never seen before.
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The ABC reports NSW victims have reported up to nine false bank accounts being opened in their names using personal details taken from their Medicare records. This adds to the total of 369 cases of potential identity theft from Medicare records in the last two years.
Labor senator Doug Cameron is demanding the government do more to secure the medical network and bring attention to the issue.
“The information I have is that this is a national problem,” Senator Cameron said.
“The Government is not responding to this effectively. The Minister is downplaying the issue, the department’s downplaying the issue and I don’t think this is an issue that should be downplayed.”
The Department of Human Services and the NSW Police have said they are working together at this stage.
It’s unclear yet what everyday Australians can do to ensure their Medicare records are safe other than ensure they are seeing a trusted doctor with a legitimate Medicare system and not leave personal belongings or even letters from Medicare in the open.
Tell us, does this latest scam have you worried?