Australians are being alerted to a new scam that is on the rise. Authorities have warned that fraudsters are looking to exploit the current cost-of-living crisis with a text message scam threatening to ‘suspend’ access to Medicare unless personal information is handed over.

According to an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) spokesperson, they had recorded the spike in their scams data collection.

"Between 1st January and 25th February 2024, Scamwatch received 1,492 reports of scams impersonating Medicare via SMS, with losses of $1,259," they said.

The Medicare scam is part of an upward trend in reports of phishing scams impersonating a range of government agencies including the ATO, myGov as well as Medicare.

The scammers are taking advantage of individuals who were relying on Medicare to access important services. People may worry that if they don't have the benefit, they'll have to pay for expensive services from a GP, and this could push them to discuss their situation which could help the scammer in obtaining more information.

How this scam works and what to look out for

Scammers may contact individuals by text message or email and say:

  • You have an unclaimed payment or rebate
  • Your Medicare service has been frozen, stopped or suspended
  • Your Medicare service needs to be restored
  • Your Medicare card has expired
  • Your Medicare insurance information is missing
  • You need to update your payment details.

They’ll request you to click on a link to take action. They may also ask you to copy the URL into Google or scan a QR code. Don’t respond or open the link. These are likely to be scam messages.

Here are some examples:

(Source: Services Australia)

A genuine Medicare message will never ask you to:

  • click any links in a text message/email to update your Medicare details
  • click any links in a text message/email to get a service, payment or rebate
  • provide credit card details or pay to access your Medicare entitlement
  • copy a URL or scan a QR code to log into your Medicare online account

Services Australia has advised that no action is required if your card is about to expire. A new card should be received about 4-8 weeks before it expires. If you need to update Medicare card details, you should do so via your Medicare online account or via the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

Example of a Scam QR code message (Source: Services Australia)

How to protect yourself from similar scams

  • If you receive a suspicious email or text message on your mobile, particularly through social media, get in contact with the company via a number sourced from their official website
  • Remember to never share any personal information with anyone, such as card details or SMS One Time Passwords
  • Don't ever authorise third party access to your desktop computer, mobile phone or any electronic devices
  • Don’t make any advanced payments until you are sure the company you’re dealing with is legitimate
  • Never provide your internet banking passwords to anyone
  • Never divulge an SMS one time verification code to anyone
  • Never make an internet banking transfer to anyone where you are not 100% certain that they are legitimate

What to do if you have encountered a scam

If you believe you may have been a victim or lost money to a scam, it’s important to notify your financial institution as soon as possible.

Australian Mutual Bank members can contact our Fraud Team by calling 13 61 91 or by emailing

Seek support from IDCARE (a free government-funded service) who can help you develop a response plan to limit the damage. IDCARE will never contact you out of the blue.

If you or someone you know has been impacted and may need ongoing help, there are support services available. These avenues of support are available to help, listen and believe.

For more advice on how to avoid scams and what to do if you or someone you know is a victim of a scam, see our Security Advice section or visit the Scamwatch website.



12 March 2024