- Applications to withdraw superannuation early have been paused amid a fraud investigation.
- Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar confirmed the scheme is on hold until at least Monday as security is tightened.
- The Australian Federal Police (AFP) are investigating 150 cases of fraudulent access, after personal information was stolen by “sophisticated” criminals.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
Australians eager to get their hands on their super to make ends meet will be made to wait until at least next week.
Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar revealed on Friday the federal government was pressing pause on its early access to superannuation scheme after a string of fraudulent withdrawals.
“There’s been one isolated incident where I think it’s fair to say identity theft has been involved,” Sukkar told Sky News on Friday. “That’s being investigated by the AFP but I emphasise these are not compromises of the ATO’s system, these are flat out fraud.”
It comes as nearly $30 billion is expected to flow out of the retirement savings system, with more than a third of that believed to already have been withdrawn.
While Sukkar maintained the decision to pause until Monday was made out of “an abundance of caution”, it comes as the AFP revealed it is investigating at least 150 fraudulent claims.
“We have executed five search warrants in relation to this matter within our jurisdiction. Our assessment so far is that there are up to 150 victims of this particular fraud,” Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Reece Kershaw told Senate estimates on Thursday. “We have identified some bank accounts and had those bank accounts frozen, with approximately $120,000 all up.”
Kershaw described the breaches as a product of “sophisticated” organised crime syndicates that were working to steal personal information in order to access Australians’ superannuation accounts. He, like Sukkar, emphasised government systems had not been hacked but that individuals had been targeted.
While remaining tight-lipped on the details given the ongoing investigation, Kershaw confirmed the AFP is working with the ATO — the body facilitating the scheme — as well as AUSTRAC, the Fintel Alliance and the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce.
“Sadly, in the world we live in, the ATO and taxpayers’ information is under constant attack – every day of the year. This program is no different,” Sukkar said on Friday.
The government indicated withdrawals would be paused until at least Monday next week while the program was tightened.
It seems those relying on payouts will have to wait a little longer.
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