Rebate scams try to convince you that you are entitled to a rebate or reimbursement from the government, a bank or trusted organization.
How this scam works
The scammer approaches you with a false claim that you are entitled to a reimbursement or rebate, such as for overpaid taxes, bank fees or some sort of compensation. The contact may come by mail, telephone, email, text message or social media.
They will pretend to be from the government, a bank or trusted organization, and will ask you to make a small initial payment to cover 'administration fees' or taxes, in order to claim the amount owed to you.
If you hand over your money, you will lose it and not receive any rebate. If you provide your credit card or banking details, you may find that more is taken out than expected.
You receive a contact out of the blue that claims you are eligible for a rebate.
The caller or sender pretends to be from a government department, financial institution or trusted organization.
In order to receive your money, you are asked to pay an upfront fee to cover 'administration fees' or taxes.
The scammer will typically ask you to send the money via a money transfer service.
You may also be asked to provide personal or financial details.
Verify the identity of the contact by calling the relevant organization directly – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Do not use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.
Do an internet search using the names or exact wording of the letter/email to check for any references to a scam – many scams can be identified this way.
Remember, government departments or trusted companies will never contact you asking you to pay money upfront in order to claim a fee or rebate.
Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, including preloaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or electronic currency such as Bitcoin.
If you think it's a scam, don't respond — scammers will use a personal touch to play on your emotions to get what they want.
Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust and never by email.
Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded cards or electronic currency. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
Protect your identity — your personal details are private and invaluable; keep them away from scammers. For example, don’t complete online forms attached to the rebate offer.