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Scams and super: keep your super safe

August 31st, 2018

Are you keeping your super safe from scammers? The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is warning of a new type of rort around early release of super, which in many cases is illegal.

The ATO says that con artists are promoting schemes that encourage people to access their super savings early to help them to buy a car, pay off debts, take a holiday or to give money to family members in need of financial help.
These schemes are unlawful. So it would cost you a lot more than the money you receive and may get you into trouble.

When can you take your super?
Generally, you can only access your super:
• when you turn 65 (even if you haven’t retired), or
• when you reach your preservation age and retire, or
• under the transition to retirement rules, while you keep working.

You are allowed to take money out of your super account legally in a few fixed situations, such as due to severe financial hardship or on compassionate grounds.

ATO’s Deputy Commissioner, James O’Halloran, said that the last thing the ATO wants to see is people’s retirement savings being put at risk by fraudsters.

“Attempting to access your super early in this way is illegal, and people need to be aware of the financial dangers of falling prey to these promoters. These people could cost you a big part of your hard-earned retirement savings.”

Beware the traps
If you are approached by someone telling you that you can access your super early, or you hear about it from family, friends or work colleagues:
• do not sign any document
• do not provide them with any of your personal details
• stop any involvement with the scheme, organisation or the person who approached you
• get advice from a professional advisor or the ATO.

Check the Illegal early release of super information on the ATO’s website or contact the ATO on 13 10 20 to report the promoter.

The ATO website also has general information on Accessing your super, and you can find out more details about other schemes it has warned about at Super Scheme Smart.